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December 7, 2015
For immediate release

Prince Edward Island optimistic about Island labour force trends

Workforce and Advanced Learning

For the first five months of 2015, Prince Edward Island saw the largest wage increases in the country, says Minister of Workforce and Advanced Learning Richard Brown.

“The department is focused on assisting all Islanders looking to secure better and higher paying jobs,” said Minister Brown. “We’re continuing to work in partnership with employers to increase the average wage by offering skills training and other measures to provide good paying, sustainable employment opportunities.”

The average hourly wage in the province is more than $20 an hour, up by 3.8 per cent over last year. The minister also said the Island’s minimum wage has increased by 40 per cent since 2007, higher than the rate of inflation. Last week, two increases were announced for 2016, making Prince Edward Island’s minimum wage the most competitive in Atlantic Canada.

A recent Statistics Canada survey found the average wage rates for job vacancies in the province during the second quarter of 2015 were the lowest in the country, but the minister pointed out the survey was heavily concentrated on entry level occupations from the service sector and came during the province’s lead up to the summer tourism season.

“These are not the only jobs available in the province,” said Minister Brown. “The most significant job shortfall in this survey was in the construction industry, and we’re confident that future infrastructure spending and industry investment will positively address these short term issues.”

Statistics Canada also released its Labour Force Survey last week, showing Prince Edward Island’s unemployment rate increased slightly above 10 per cent for the first time in three months.

“We monitor the employment trends closely, and recognize there are fluctuations throughout the year, but the overall employment and labor force participation trends for 2015 have been positive,” said Minister Brown.

The labour force in October was 82,600, up by 1,300 over the previous month. The number of jobs was up by 700 to 74,400.

Minister Brown said all factors should be considered when determining the state of the labour force on Prince Edward Island. He said the department is addressing challenges, including the aging demographic of the workforce, the outmigration of workers, and the province’s declining population.

“The department is actively working on strategies to develop and increase the population through targeted recruitment and repatriation efforts, including the attraction of international students to post-secondary institutions,” said the minister.

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Media Contact: Sheila Kerry
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