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.
Bucking the historical trend, job creation in the services sector fell off in the Quebec City region in 2013. The construction industry and the manufacturing sector, however, picked up the slack. According to preliminary data, non-residential construction had a banner year, with investments totalling more than $1 billion while manufacturers boosted their hiring over the course of the year thanks to increased orders.
Regional economic diversification played a key role in the demand for labour in the Quebec City CMA in 2013, offsetting the services sector’s lacklustre performance. This also had a reinvigorating effect after a fairly calm summer period. December was a good example of this trend as the region created 4,700 jobs on a monthly basis—the second best showing in Canada after Vancouver (+10,000 jobs). This all bodes well as 2014 begins with a positive outlook, particularly as regards the global economy.