April 2012

Tables and Analysis

Real GDP

Real GDP

 

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Employment Market

Employment Market

The Quebec City CMA got off to a strong start in 2012. In the first quarter, 15,200 jobs were created compared with the same period in 2011. The Quebec City CMA also had the highest job creation rate in the province of Quebec. In addition, it was among the Canadian CMAs making the strongest contributions to job creation in Canada in the last quarter, along with Ottawa (+24,400), Calgary (+32,600) and Vancouver (+35,300).

Hiring in Quebec City picked up for full-time as well as part-time positions, with nearly equal growth in each category. The first-quarter gains amounted to 7,700 full-time and 7,500 part-time jobs. In addition, the number of workers aged 25 or older increased by 19,200 compared with last year, helping to offset the loss of 4,000 workers in the 15-to-25 age group.

Demand for labour increased in the services sector in Quebec City, with 19,000 jobs added in the first quarter of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011. Hiring primarily picked up in the driver services sectors, followed by household and public services. For the construction industry, job creation was calmer due to the smaller number of projects started. In the manufacturing sector, the recovery has yet to take hold, while the gains recorded in the food processing and metal manufacturing sectors were not enough to offset the downward trend.

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Unemployment Rate

Unemployment Rate

The strong performance of the employment market in the Quebec City region at the beginning of the year was reflected in the unemployment rate, which dropped to 5.8% at the end of March 2012, compared with 7.1% last year. The increase in the number of workers (+3.8%), which offset the increase in the active population (+2.4%), accounts for this decrease. In addition, Quebec City still has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada after Regina (4.1%).

The good start to the year bodes well for the region. The spring period may even prolong this situation as various projects underway could be entering their peak period by the end of the spring, while road projects will gradually pick up steam again, spurring demand for construction workers. However, employment growth in the services sector will have to be monitored. The commercial sector will need some more time before it reaches a more stable level of hiring. In addition, ongoing public-sector staff cuts could be compounded by the recent layoffs announced by the federal government.

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Capital Investment

Capital Investment

The Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches regions generated $10.2 billion in investments in 2010, setting a new record. Both regions recorded average annualized growth of 9.4% over the past five years (+5.4% for the province of Quebec), good for fourth place overall in the provincial rankings.

According to the Quebec Statistics Institute (ISQ), the situation will remain basically the same in 2011 for the Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches regions. They are expected to record $10.1 billion in investments, accounting for more than 15% of capital expenditures in the province, just behind Montreal (19%) and Montérégie (18%).

The private sector, which appears to have reached an equilibrium point of approximately $6 billion per year, will continue to benefit from the predominance of the services sector. In addition, a gradual increase in manufacturing expenditures, spurred by the strong Canadian dollar, is expected. Meanwhile, the housing market will remain active, although the development of multi-phase projects means that investments will be completed over several years.

Public investments have grown by a factor of 2.5 in the region over the past five years (1.8 in the province Quebec), boosting the region’s relative weight from 25% to 39%. The large number of road and land use projects will maintain the level of public expenditures again in 2011. 

 

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Venture Capital

Venture Capital

Venture capital investments in the Quebec City CMA topped $25.8 million in 2011, an annual drop of 19.2%. The increases observed in the IT (+78.9%), other technologies (+52.5%) and traditional sectors (+7.9%) were not enough to offset the drop-off in the life sciences field (-66.2%). However, the region finished off the year with an 88.4% increase in venture capital investments in the fourth quarter, reaching $8.4 million.

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Demographic Snapshot

Demographic Snapshot

According to the most recent data from the Statistics Canada census, the Quebec City CMA had 765,706 inhabitants in 2011, up 6.5% since the 2006 census (+4.7% for the province of Quebec). Thanks to this fine performance, the region recorded the province’s highest growth rate between the two censuses. In addition, the current results demonstrate that the Quebec City metropolitan region may be exceeding certain estimates. According to the ISQ’s “strong” scenario, the region may be ahead of the projections by more than a year or thereabouts.

The improved demographic outlook stems from the natural population increase (births minus deaths) and a positive migratory balance. The number of births in Quebec City is exceeding the number of deaths by more than 3,000 annually. That is primarily attributable to the ongoing baby boom, which works out to around 8,200-8,500 newborns per year. As regards the migratory balance, the Quebec City region receives more than 4,000 immigrants per year from other parts of Canada or from other countries. It should be noted that the number of international immigrants is approaching 3,000 per year. It now appears that the region is attracting more people from other provinces than it is losing. Thanks to its robust economy, strong labour market, higher income levels and quality of life, the Quebec City region is an increasingly attractive place to live and work. 

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