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. Between 2008 and 2013, growth stood at 8.7%, edging out Toronto (+8.1%) and Montreal (+6.8%).
Quebec City’s economic growth was driven by the services sector in 2013 (+2.1%), helped in part by the expansion of production services (finance, insurance, professional, scientific and technical services, etc.) as well as by public administration. The construction industry was down slightly (-0.3%) due mainly to the residential market, although the non-residential sector outdid itself as investments totalled $1.2 billion. Meanwhile, the anticipated recovery of the manufacturing sector (-7%) will have to wait for another year. Labour market stability, combined with a slow but steady increase in new orders over the past few months, point to a gradual recovery for the transformation sector in 2014.
In 2014, real GDP in the Quebec City CMA is expected to increase by 2%. The awarding of new contracts and the development of new markets will benefit companies offering goods and services. The construction industry also stands to benefit from the robust non-residential sector, which should help to offset the housing market slowdown.