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Unemployment climbs to 5% in may in the Quebec City Region

Attached documents


  • The Quebec City census metropolitan area (CMA) recorded a total of 427,700 jobs in May, down 5,000 from April.
  • The drop in employment (-1.2%) was larger than the drop in the labour force (-0.7%). As a result, unemployment in May rose by 0.5 percentage points to 5%.
  • The dropoff in hiring continued for the second consecutive month, although the Quebec City region still shows a cumulative gain of 4,200 jobs compared with May 2013.
  • For the province of Quebec, the labour market shrunk for the third month in a row, with 800 jobs lost in May. The provincial unemployment rate stood at 8% last month, up from 7.6% in April.


Are Mother Nature’s spring hijinks having an impact on the local labour market? Whatever the case may be, the Quebec City CMA appears to have fallen into a lull after starting the year off with a bang. The region was home to 427,700 jobs in May, down 5,000 from April. However, the construction and manufacturing sectors are showing signs of stability. The services sector, in contrast, is more of a mixed bag, with its various components struggling to maintain upward momentum.

The figures released this morning provide an opportunity to clarify the picture. The region is grappling with a number of economic and structural constraints: various industrial and non-residential projects are on the drawing board, but their launch will hinge on a more favourable economic outlook. Meanwhile, the low unemployment rate (5% in May) is a reminder that the shortage of specialized labour is acting as an irritant and hampering hiring in certain sectors. To rectify that situation, some 10 Quebec City-based companies are taking part in a recruitment mission that will be making stops in Paris and Brussels at the beginning of the week. 

The labour market turned in a stellar performance in the Quebec City CMA at the beginning of 2014 and at the end of 2013, propelling it to record highs. As a result, the region is positioned as one of the top performers in Quebec and one of the most dynamic in Canada. However, the slowdown in May means that the region must keep on adjusting to certain constraints stemming from the economic outlook and the available labour pool.

Louis Gagnon
Senior Economist
Quebec International

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