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Economic report and outlooks -
Québec City CMA, 2017-2018



This Economic Report and Outlooks for the Québec City Census Metropolitan Area - 2017-2018 was conducted by Québec International. In addition to addressing key economic indicators for assessing regional performance, it takes an objective look at the results achieved in 2017 and those expected in the future. Changes in a number of regional economic variables are also compared with those of other metropolitan areas in Canada.

Six key indicators were selected for this analysis: economic growth, purchasing power, labour market, non-residential investment, housing market and demographics. The appendices list historical data on the economic indicators analyzed, as well as major projects in the region and a list of employers by area of activity.

This Québec International study is based on statistical data published by recognized organizations. Some indicators were processed and analyzed in order to establish projections for the next five years.


This study was produced by Québec International’s Department of Economic Studies and Strategic Monitoring. This team of professionals is responsible for ensuring the availability of high-quality economic information. To that end, they monitor changes in the economic and business environment at the regional, national and international levels and conduct various types of research and analysis in order to identify opportunities, guide development strategies and define actions to be taken in support of regional economic growth.

The information in this study is based on the information available as of April 2018.


The economy of the Québec City CMA has been growing for more than two decades and the 2017 economic outlook is no exception. In fact, the GDP grew by 2.3% in 2017 to reach $34.6B, a sustained growth that exceeded 2% for the first time since 2011. The area’s success is supported by every sector in its economy. What’s more, in 2017 residential construction had its second-best performance in more than 20 years. As for the industrial sector, it invested a record $129.1M in Québec City.

The Québec City area registered a record 442,800 jobs in 2017. As a result, the average salary increased by 1.7% from 2016, reaching $42,916. The economy’s excellent performance highlighted certain issues that the region is facing. For example, labour shortages caused by the growing economy and aging population are still an issue. In fact, the Québec City CMA’s unemployment rate dropped below 2008’s record 4.4%, reaching 4.2% in 2017. This is the lowest unemployment rate of all major metropolitan areas in Canada. Job creation has played a role in this situation; after all, the labour force grew by 2,500 people in 2017, following its decrease in 2016.

In the coming years, indicators show that the need for workers will increase due to upcoming major projects and a growing number of retirements. Efforts to draw international immigrants to the area will therefore remain crucial. Net migration for the past five years (2012–2017) was 16,308 newcomers, an improvement of 19.3% over the 2007–2012 period.

Additionally, the Canadian dollar is expected to remain below parity with the American dollar, fuelling exports for 2018. Exporters can also benefit from new opportunities with the ratification of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the upcoming implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). These agreements, combined with Québec City’s economic strength, will help mitigate uncertainty regarding the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Overall, the Québec City area is in a good position to face these challenges. Currently, the region boasts a strong, diversified and innovative economy. It also benefits from a highly qualified workforce and can rely on industry leaders and cutting-edge expertise. These factors, combined with major projects like Le Phare and the structured public transit network, will fuel the growth of all areas of economic activity and will keep the area attractive in the coming years. For these reasons, Québec City’s economic strength in 2017 translates to positive anticipated outcomes for 2018, with the GDP expected to grow by more than 2%.



Appendix 1

Primary economic indicators for
the Québec City CMA


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Appendix 2

List of major current and announced non-residential private
investment projects in the Québec City CMA


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in PDF format

Appendix 3

List of major private sector employers
by activity sector in the Québec City CMA


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in PDF format

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Economic statistics
Real GDP
Quebec City CMA+2.3% +2.5%
Quebec (province)+2.6%+3.0%
Canada+2.0% +4.0%
Labour market
Quebec City CMA460,200 (+5.3%)457,400 (+2.3%)
Quebec (province)4,264,000 (+0.6%)4,279,600 (+2.0%)
Job creation
Quebec City CMA+23,300+10,500
Quebec (province)+26,500+85,000
Unemployment rate
Quebec City CMA3.8%3.6%
Quebec (province)5.4%5.6%
Capital investment
Quebec City CMA$3.5B (+3.1%)$3.4B (+14.8%)$3.0B (+15.4%)
Quebec (province)$37.7B (+5.1%)$35.9B (+3.2%)$34.7B (+0.5%)
Venture capital - Quebec City CMA
(total invested)
$167.3M (+476.9%)$30.1M (-59.4%)$71.4M (+79.8%)$39.7M (+59.0%)
Office buildings
 Vacancy rateAverage net rent
Quebec City CMA8.6%$11.30 / sq ft
Downtown Quebec City9.2%$11.12$ / sq ft
Ste-Foy7.3%$10.91 / sq ft
Northwest sector9.9%$11.50 / sq ft
Disposable personal income per capita
Quebec City CMA$30,699 (+1.7%)
Quebec (province)$28,541 (+2.7%)
Canada$32,839 (+2.2%)
Average wage
Quebec City CMA$42,916 (+1.7%)
Quebec (province)$41,185 (+2.3%)
Canada$50,600 (+2.1%)
Inflation rate
 Q2-2018 (vs Q2-2017)Q1-2018 (vs Q1-2017)
Quebec City CMA+1.2% +1.1%
Quebec (province)+1.4%+1.4%
Retail Sales (B$)
 Q2-2018 (vs Q2-2017)Q1-2018 (vs Q1-2017)
Quebec City CMA15.7 (+2.7%)15.6 (+3.1%)
Quebec (province)129.5 (+3.6%)128.7 (+3.8%)
Total population (M)
Quebec City CMA812,205 (+10% vs 2007)901,100 (+10.9% vs 2017)
Quebec (province)8,394,400 (+9.1% vs 2007)9,394,700 (+11.9% vs 2017)
Active population
Quebec City CMA462,000 (+0.5% vs 2016)
Quebec (province)4,495,700 (+1.1% vs 2016)
Housing starts - Quebec City CMA
Q2-20181,737 (+21.3%)
Q1-2018848 (+51.4%)
Q4-20171,812 (+45.1%)
Q3-20172,060 (-6.7%)
Residential vacancy rate
 October 2017October 2016
Quebec City CMA4.5%4.9%
Quebec (province)3.4%4.4%
Sources: Conference Board of Canada, Statistics Canada, Quebec Institute of Statistics (ISQ), Emploi-Québec, Altus Group and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
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