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A second increase in the Québec City CMA’s unemployment rate

The Québec City CMA’s unemployment rate reached 3.1% in June, a 0.5 percentage point increase compared to May, when it stood at 2.6%. This is the second consecutive increase in the region since November 2022.


  1. The region, which had maintained the lowest unemployment rate among Canadian CMAs for four months in a row, has now dropped to second rank for that indicator.

  2. The drop in participation and employment that started the month before (May) continues. The participation rate and employment rate dropped by 0.2% and 0.5%, settling at 66.1% and 64.1%, respectively. These rates remained virtually unchanged in the province of Quebec as a whole and Canada.  

  3. The CMA’s labour market recorded 3,600 fewer jobs, and the labour force shrunk slightly (1,100 fewer people in the labour force). As percentages, these represent decreases of 0.8% in employment and 0.2% in the labour force.    

  4. The unemployment rate remained relatively stable in the province of Quebec and Canada, at 4.2% in the province (+0.1 percentage points compared to May 2023) and 5.2% in Canada (+0.2 percentage points compared to May 2023). 


Evolution of the participation rate, the employment rate and the unemployment rate in the Québec City CMA

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0380-01.

Cautionary Note
The available data for the Québec City census metropolitan area (CMA) was given special statistical treatment (three-month moving average) due to the small sample size, which has the effect of mitigating the large fluctuations in the data. Thus, the data collected in December and January influenced the estimations published for February. Please also note that we use comparable data for the province of Quebec and the other CMAs in this document.


A growing unemployment rate 
Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey revealed that the unemployment rate registered a second increase in a row in the Québec City CMA, reaching 3.1% in June 2023. This 0.5 percentage point increase means that the CMA had the second-largest variation in its unemployment rate, behind St. John and Halifax, whose unemployment rates each increased by 0.8 percentage points over the same period. 

The employment and participation rates continue to decline 
Similarly to May 2023, labour market participation indicators registered a slight drop, with the employment rate reaching 64.1%, a 0.5% decrease compared to the previous month, and the participation rate settling at 66.1%, a 0.2% decrease. Meanwhile, the province of Quebec’s (62.2%) and Canada’s (62.2%) employment rates maintained the same level as the previous month. Their employment rates also remained stable, at 64.9% in the province and 65.6% in Canada. 

A sign that things are going back to normal? 
This second consecutive increase in the unemployment rate seems to hint at a gradual return to a similar situation as before the beginning of 2023. In the last three months of 2022, the unemployment rate had remained at 3.1%. It is only in January 2023 that the CMA’s labour market started to register rates below 3%, reaching a record low of 1.7% in March and April. 

El Hadji Nimaga
Québec International