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Economic Growth

Real GDP: Profile of the eight major
Canadian CMAs

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Québec City's expanding real GDP 

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The Québec City CMA once again experienced an increase in its real GDP (gross domestic product) in 2016; it grew by 1.6% from 2015, reaching a total of $34.6B. This is a milestone for the area, since it marks a full quarter century of uninterrupted economic growth. With a 73% increase over the past 25 years, Québec City has the best economic performance in the province of Québec. Additionally, it is the only major Canadian CMA to experience such sustained growth.

Accounting for more than 80% of the GDP, the service sector set the pace in 2016 with a 1.4% increase. Production increased in the consumer services and public services sectors (+5.1% and +1.6%, respectively) and remained steady in the production services sector. For the 2016–2021 period, the service sector will grow by approximately 1.8% annually. This is greater than the 1.2% increase observed in 2011–2016. The projection for 2016–2021 is supported by the strong comeback of the financial and insurance services, professional, scientific and technical services and administrative services, as well as the expansion of commercial and recreation-tourism environments.

The manufacturing industry is making up for its losses during the 2009 recession; its GDP grew by 2.6% between 2015 and 2016. Production of high-value-added goods is increasing, particularly in the chemical products manufacturing, digital and electronic tools, metal products, machinery and food processing sectors. While capital, real estate and innovation investments will remain a concern for Québec City’s manufacturers, the industry GDP is expected to increase by approximately 3% per year between 2016 and 2021 (+1.5% between 2011 and 2016).

The construction market has slowed down for a fourth consecutive year. In 2016, the GDP fell by 3.4% compared to 2015. However, we are optimistic that the construction industry will soon enter a more dynamic period. Major construction sites are starting to pop up in all sectors (institutional, commercial, industrial and residential). The construction GDP is therefore set to increase steadily again and grow by an average of 1.2% per year until 2021, more than making up for the losses in the 2011–2016 period (-0.7%).

Accounting for 4% of the total GDP, the primary sector registered a 10.6% increase last year. Efforts to expand agritourism and develop forest resources properties are contributing to the growth of the primary sector. These efforts should continue between 2016 and 2021, when the sector’s growth is projected to be 1% per year.

Québec City’s economic return is a reflection of its productivity. In 2016, the region’s productivity ratio (measured here as the real GDP divided by the number of jobs) was $78,864, compared to ratio of $77,183 for the province. This represents a 2.4% increase from 2015 (+0.8% in the province of Quebec). Not only did the CMA exceed the provincial average, it also experienced one of the largest increases in Canada. As long as all sectors continue to work towards regional growth, the productivity ratio should increase by an average of 1% per year between 2016 and 2021 (+0.7% from 2011 to 2016).

Québec City’s economic strength indicates that the area is working on growing its per-capita GDP, which is an indicator of its residents’ quality of life. In 2016, this indicator increased to $42,841 (compared to $38,314 for the province of Québec), representing a growth of 0.8% compared to 2015 (+0.9% in the province of Québec). The constant expansion of the regional economy suggests that the per-capita GDP may grow by 1% per person per year between now and 2021; this figure grew by 0.5% between 2011 and 2016. Québec City will therefore remain a provincial leader and will be able to bridge the gap between it and its main Canadian peers in terms of size.

The Québec City CMA counts on all of its business sectors to support its economic growth. On average, the real GDP will grow by nearly 2% per year between 2016 and 2021. This exceeds the area’s performance for 2011–2016 (+1.3%) and is comparable to the expected growth rates for other Canadian metropolitan areas. The growth of the real GDP will lead to increased productivity and quality of life for the area’s inhabitants. Additionally, it will bolster the growth of other indicators, such as the job market, investment and demographics.

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