Like most Nunavut communities, Whale Cove relies heavily on traditional economy through subsistence harvesting of caribou, fish and seal. Because of the harsh winters, many employment opportunities, such as construction, road maintenance, and home maintenance occur only when the weather is warmer and the ground is thawed.
Major employers in the community consist of the Hamlet, Issatik Co-op store, and local fishery.
Entrepreneurship is always supported and encouraged in Whale Cove. A community economic development officer is employed by the Hamlet to assist residents with business start-ups and ongoing needs. Local businesses include 2 general contracting businesses, one heavy equipment contracting business, and translation services. Issatik Co-op is Inuit owned and is currently the only grocery and general goods retailer in Whale Cove.