The Quebec City CMA generated $32.9 billion in real GDP in the third quarter of 2013, up 0.9% from the same period in 2012, according to a Conference Board of Canada update. This is welcome news following a slow summer marked by several downtrending indicators, particularly in the labour market. As the cornerstone of the local economy, the services sector turned in the strongest performance with annual growth of 2.1%, benefiting from expansion in all sub-sectors, including consumer services (+3.5%), production services (+3.4%) and public administration (+1.6%).
As regards the construction industry, real GDP was down 3.2% in the third quarter, primarily due to a drop-off in housing starts. The residential slowdown took some of the shine off the non-residential sector, which is on track to top $1 billion in investments in 2013. Among manufacturers, a 7.5% decline in GDP over the past three months means that recovery will have to wait until 2014. News in the employment market is improving and order books are filling up, although these results have been slow to materialize in all segments.
The Quebec City CMA has had an up-and-down year, and the third-quarter results reflect that pattern. Under those circumstances, real GDP growth in the region should be approximately 1% for 2013 as a whole, slightly less than our expectation of 1.7%.