Circuit breaker cuts power to P.E.I. job growth

·1 min read

When the P.E.I. government implemented circuit breaker measures in early December to halt the spread of an outbreak of COVID-19, they appear to have also halted job growth.

Statistics Canada released its Labour Force Survey for December Friday morning.

Job numbers had been on an upward trend in the last half of the year. Seasonally adjusted numbers show growth every month except September, and an additional 2,700 jobs in November over July.

But the provincial economy dropped 900 jobs in December.

The job loss came as the new public health restrictions were put in place. In early December, seven cases not linked to travel were discovered, the Island's first apparent community spread.

The restrictions sharply reduced the size and variety of allowable gatherings, and included closing gyms and restaurant dining rooms. (Gyms and dining rooms were since permitted to reopen after no further evidence of community spread.)

The December restrictions appear to have struck hospitality workers hard.

Statistics Canada does not provide seasonally adjusted numbers for P.E.I. by sector. Unadjusted numbers show the hospitality sector lost 900 jobs in December, or one in five of the jobs the sector was providing in November.

Hospitality was not the only sector to see big losses in December. Agriculture lost 600 jobs, and construction lost 700, but these are sectors that typically see job losses in that month.

In contrast, on average in the previous five years the hospitality sector added jobs from November to December.

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