The Quebec City census metropolitan area (CMA) recorded Canada’s highest job creation rate in the first quarter of 2013. Outperforming all other Canadian regions, Quebec City posted a quarterly gain of 9,400 jobs, for a total of 428,100. Unemployment fell to 4.4%, one of the lowest rates in the country (the regional unemployment rate has not been this low since early 2010).
The Quebec City region’s exceptional job creation performance in early 2013 was driven by the services sector and the construction industry, both of which are expected to keep up the pace in the coming months. A number of companies have signed plenty of new contracts as work on new projects begins to pick up. Meanwhile, employment continues to decline in the manufacturing sector, although the gradual increase in activity at Davie Shipyard should bring a measure of relief.
Quebec City has turned in a robust performance since the beginning of the year and the positive contribution of several factors will support regional momentum in the spring. However, the low unemployment numbers stand as a reminder that the pool of available potential workers is shrinking. In addition, some companies are having no qualms about turning to international markets to meet their staffing needs, as illustrated by the solid results of Quebec International’s recruitment missions dating back to 2008. Thanks to these efforts, some 850 qualified workers have been hired, including 343 in 2012 alone.