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Unemployment in Québec City edges up to 5.1% in the first quarter

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Highlights

  • The Québec City census metropolitan area (CMA) recorded an unemployment rate of 5,1% in the first quarter of 2016, up slightly from 4,9% in the previous quarter but still one of the lowest levels in Canada.
  • Québec City had a total of 432,800 jobs at the end of March 2016, down 12,500 from the end of December 2015.
  • The slight drop in employment was largely due to a 2.6% decrease in the active working population (the regional workforce was down 12,000 people).
  • According to the March data, the number of workers dropped for the fifth straight month in Québec City, leading to a loss of 6,500 jobs (this trend has also been observed in the past).
  • Across the province of Québec, the number of jobs declined by 11,200 between February and March as unemployment dipped from 7.6% in February to 7.5% in March.
2016-04-08 Monthly change in employment

Monthly Change in Employment/Unemployment Rate in Québec City CMA

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2016-04-08 Labour market in first quarter

Labour Market in First Quarter

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Commentary

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.



Louis Gagnon
Senior Economist
Québec International

 
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