The Quebec City CMA kicked off 2017 by creating 1,300 jobs from December to January, the biggest such gain since October 2016. The region had a total of 446,600 jobs in January, a monthly peak for the past 18 months. This strong performance helped keep unemployment steady at 4.3% for the third month in a row. Meanwhile, the regional employment rate stood at 65.9% in January, good for the #1 position in the province as Quebec City closed the gap with various regions in Western Canada.
According to Statistics Canada's labour force survey, the labour market made early gains this year mainly in the services sector. Financial/insurance services, along with the transportation/storage industry, appear to be maintaining the momentum they began to show in late 2016. The outlook is also favourable in the recreational, tourism and commercial sectors. The manufacturing and construction industries showed little variation, and this trend may well extend into the beginning of the second quarter and the arrival of spring.
The Quebec City region is off to a good start this year. The services sector remains the main driver of employment and the other sectors should gradually follow suit as 2017 unfolds. The results of Léger's recent business confidence survey, published on February 2 by Quebec International, point to high demand for labour in the region. Indeed, 66% of the CEOs surveyed expect to hire new workers this year. They also hope to fill positions with a view to ensuring business growth, developing new areas of expertise and offsetting staff turnover.