Economic Update Quebec City Metropolitan Region - October 2012
Every fiscal quarter, we paint a portrait of the region's economic environment and analyze key economic indicators that help to assess regional performance as well as compare economic variables with those of seven other metropolitan areas in Canada: Montréal, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton et Vancouver. The analyses on the economy of the Québec City metropolitan region are based on statistical data published by recognized organizations.
The Quebec City census metropolitan area (CMA) turned in a decent performance in the third quarter of 2012. The low unemployment rate (5.2%), the addition of 1,161 housing starts, the projects under way (valued at $7.5 billion) and the local tourist attractions helped position the region among Canada’s top-performing economies. Needless to say, it is not completely immune from global uncertainties, which offset the increase in certain indicators and take time to dissipate. The slowdown observed in Quebec City’s employment market this summer offers us a reminder of that fact.
The overall picture for the fourth quarter should be much the same as for the third quarter. Diversification, not only in terms of investments but also in terms of the industrial base, will enable Quebec City to brave the headwinds still buffeting the global economy. However, this uncomfortable situation could extend the slowdown in job creation for one more quarter.
All told, the current outlook is slightly better than our expectations. If our real GDP growth forecast holds steady at 2% for all of 2012, other variables will be revised upwards. For example, there is still room in the employment market for available qualified workers. This means that there will be net job creation in the region for six years in a row. Meanwhile, the residential construction sector benefited from the launch of a large number of condominium and rental projects this year, thus keeping the overall level exceptionally high.
Gross Domestic Product
The Quebec City CMA got off to a good start this year. Real GDP increased by 2.1% in the first six months compared with the same period in 2011, reaching a new record of $28 billion. Once again, the region showed its resilience as concerns about the global economic outlook and the lacklustre US economic recovery remained persistent. In addition, Quebec City outperformed many of its Canadian counterparts by recording one of the highest growth rates in the country.
More details on gross domestic product
The Quebec City CMA set the bar very high in 2011 with a record of 436,300 jobs in the third quarter. Since then, the region has continued to record steady economic growth, including 2.1% real GDP growth in the first six months of 2012. However, the region is not immune to the uncertainties still hovering over the global economy, which sent the employment market back down to more sustainable levels. In the third quarter of 2012, the region had a total of 421,400 jobs, down 14,900 from the same period last year.
More details on labour market
According to updated data compiled by Québec International, more than 180 investment projects are under way in the Quebec City metropolitan region. All told, these residential, institutional, industrial and commercial projects are valued at $7.5 billion. Their diversity is also serving to create a more stable economic environment for the region. In addition, a number of projects in the real estate sector are being spread out over multiple phases in order to avoid creating excessive surplus or speculative bubbles.
More details on investment
The third quarter was jam-packed with tourist activity in the Quebec City region, including international events such as the Quebec City Summer Festival, the Bordeaux Wine Festival and the Cycling Grand Prix. However, the Quebec City Tourism Office’s composite index of tourist activity showed mixed results for the summer period. It stood at 95.3 points, down from 98.3 one year ago. In addition, the hotel occupancy rate was 72.5% in the third quarter, down 0.6 points.
More details on tourist activity