The employment market lost a bit of steam in the Québec City CMA in early 2016. The region was home to 432,800 jobs in the first quarter, down 12,500 from the fourth quarter of 2015. The situation, however, is much different from the losses seen in 2011. Five years ago, the region was dealing with a drop in the active working population as well as an increase in the number of jobseekers. This year, the drop in employment was primarily due to the smaller regional workforce.
Even so, a number of other indicators remain favourable in Québec City. Unemployment stood at 5.1% in the first quarter (4.9% in the fourth quarter of 2015), one of the lowest levels in Canada. In addition, the non-seasonally adjusted data indicate that unemployment was less than 6% in the following categories: 15-24 year-olds (5.9%); 25-54 year-olds (5.5%); and 55 year-olds and up (5.9%). The regional employment rate (64.3%) is still the highest in Québec. A sector-by-sector analysis shows that the manufacturing and construction sectors are maintaining their respective levels of stable jobs. The services sector continues to adjust to the ebb and flow of certain components, particularly those relating to financial services and insurance, professional, scientific and technical services, and techniques and health and social services.
Today's data serve as a reminder that the robust labour market in the Québec City region is based on key contributions by the industrial sector. However, changes in the labour pool (i.e. the active working population), could shape regional employment trends this year.