P.E.I. unemployment rate below 10% for 5 straight months

P.E.I.'s unemployment rate fell to 8.7 per cent in September, the fifth consecutive month it was below 10 per cent.

Wages remain an issue

The number of jobs on the Island has reached record levels in the last few months. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

P.E.I.'s unemployment rate fell to 8.7 per cent in September, the fifth consecutive month it was below 10 per cent.

The last time there were five straight months of single-digit rates was in 2014. Before that you would have to go back to the 1970s.

2018 is on track to have the lowest unemployment on record for the province. In the first nine months the rate averaged 9.77 per cent. In 1978 it was 9.79 per cent.

UPEI economics professor Jim Sentence noted the rate is coming down through employment growth, not people leaving the workforce.

In June the number of jobs on the Island passed 76,000 for the first time and has not fallen below that mark. The number of full-time jobs in September, 64,800, was an all-time high.

"It's hard to point to a sector that's not doing well," said Sentence.

"I think a lot of it, frankly, is the population growth and immigration. People that are coming in with money [and] they're spending it. You look at most sectors of the Island economy, they're clicking at the moment. Tourism has been really good the last couple of years. Construction, I think largely because of the increased demand for housing and just expansion of business, is booming as well."

Youth unemployment among lowest in Canada

The youth unemployment rate on P.E.I. has been below 11 per cent for the last two months.

That has put it not only below the national average, but the third lowest in the country, behind only Quebec and British Columbia.

But while there have been more jobs, wages have been falling in 2018 after some significant growth in 2017.

"You look at where the jobs have been created, and the big sector that jumps out is accommodation and food services," said Sentance.

"It's not exactly a high wage area."

The government notes that while wages are down from January to July, they are higher when compared year over year.

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About the Author

Kevin Yarr

Kevin Yarr is the early morning web journalist at CBC P.E.I. You can reach him at kevin.yarr@cbc.ca.