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A Modest Spring for the Labour Market in the Québec City CMA

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  • According to new data released by Statistics Canada, the Québec City CMA counted 441,200 jobs in May 2017, a diminution of 4,300 jobs compared to April.
  • The contraction of the active population by a 0.5% factor, combined with the 9.8% increase in the number of unemployed, slowed job creation this past month.
  • The unemployment rate increased by 0.4 percentage points, reaching 4.6% in May, while remaining among the lowest in Canada.
  • In the province, 14,900 jobs were added on a monthly basis in May. As for the unemployment rate, it went from 6.6% in April to 6% in May.

Quebec City CMA: Monthly changes in employment data

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Labour market in May

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The labour market is experiencing a low growth period this Spring in the Québec City CMA. The area counted 441,200 jobs, 4,300 less than in April. At least half of this loss came from the contraction of the active population. Just like last year, Québec experienced some difficulty maintaining an even growth for its available pool of workers. As for the other half of the explanation, this drawback could be attributed to job losses that dramatically increased the number of unemployed by 9.8% compared to April.

The new data released this morning also allow to set records straight. On a structural level, workers aged 25 to 54, as well as workers aged 55 and above, remain strongly sollicited, as can be seen by the low rate of unemployment for these age groups, at 4% and 4.1% respectively (non deseasonalized data). The increase in their presence positively impacts the creation of full-time and part-time jobs. The problem lies with the 15 to 24 years old. This category is currently in a less favourable cycle, which explains why their presence is not as significant on the labour market and the acceleration of their unemployment rate, going from 4.4% in May 2016 to 10.1% in mai 2017. Thanks to the economic vitality and the diversification of jobs in the area, some improvements are expected by the end of the year for the 15 to 24 age group. From a short-term perspective, the area has many project on the drawing board. However, as mentioned in our Economic report and outlooks Québec City CMA 2016-2017, these will be implemented gradually. The resolution of certain issues in the construction sector hints at some improvements as early as the month of June.

Finally, the hiatus on the labour market in the Québec area continued in May, although this break is not homogenous across all age groups and industries. Moreover, the need in workforce remains very real, as can be seen by the low unemployment rate of 4.6%, still among the lowest in Canada.

Louis Gagnon
Senior Economist
Québec International

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