Economic News - The Quebec City metropolitan region started off 2014 with a bang, just like it ended 2013. The dynamic local job market is among the strongest in Canada. In the first quarter of 2014, Quebec City added 12,800 jobs compared with the fourth quarter of 2013. This gain came on top of the 11,100 jobs added during the previous quarter. It was the second-best performance nationally, after Vancouver (+14,100 jobs). In addition, unemployment dropped from 4.7% at the end of December to 4.1% at the end of March, one of the lowest rates nationwide.
Economic News - This morning, KPMG released the 2014 edition of Competitive Alternatives, its biennial study, which compares business location costs in 107 metropolitan regions in 10 countries. The Quebec City region scored well, with a 9.3% cost advantage relative to the US average. This is a net improvement since 2012, when this figure stood at 5.8%. The Quebec City region ranks sixth worldwide among the regions studied and ranks #1 among similarly-sized regions (500,000 to 2 million inhabitants). Among the 15 Canadian cities featured, only Moncton and Charlottetown edged out Quebec City. Quebec City now ranks third (up from sixth in 2012), outperforming Montreal, Winnipeg, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver.
Economic News - The Quebec City metropolitan region generated $33.1 billion in real GDP in 2013, up 1.2% compared with 2012. In this regard, the region slightly exceeded our expectations (we had previously forecast annual growth of 1%). A more sustained uptick in employment in the fourth quarter provided some momentum at the end of the year. In addition, although growth has often topped 2% in recent years, Quebec City still has one of the most dynamic economies in Eastern Canada.
Economic News - We had modest expectations for 2013 due to numerous upheavals along the way. Nonetheless, the Quebec City census metropolitan area (CMA) maintained its growth course, with 1,000 jobs created compared with 2012 on a non-seasonally-adjusted basis. Thanks to this seventh consecutive annual gain, the region hit a new record of 422,200 jobs. In addition, with unemployment at 4.7% (down from 5.1% in 2012), one of the lowest rates in Canada, Quebec City came very close to the all-time low of 4.6% recorded in 2008.