Our expectations were high for 2015 in light of the US economic recovery and service sector growth. The Quebec City CMA rose to the challenge, creating 8,600 jobs compared with 2014 (the net gain from 2013 to 2014 was 5,200 jobs). The region hit a peak of 442,300 jobs. In addition, as unemployment reached one of the lowest levels in Canada (4.7%, down from 5.3% in 2014), Quebec City edged closer to its all-time low of 4.4% recorded in 2008.
For the first time since 2011 (and for the second time in 10 years), all economic sectors contributed to the regional wave of job creation in 2015. The services sector set the pace, adding 3,300 workers, while the commercial, teaching, health and social services sectors were the most active. The construction industry added 2,700 jobs compared with 2014 as the launch of new residential and infrastructure projects bolstered the demand for labour. Manufacturers finished the year with 2,500 more workers than in 2014, marking the third consecutive annual increase. The increase in new orders and the sustained US economic recovery both helped spur hiring.
Regional economic diversification was again a major aspect of job creation in 2015. However, the low unemployment rate (4.7%) and the high employment rate (66%, an all-time high for the region) served as reminders that the shortage of qualified workers remains a key issue, particularly in terms of supporting business expansion and the next generation. If the demand for labour remains high in 2016, the hiring outlook will be favourable for local jobseekers as well as foreign workers.