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Conjoncture 2020: Business Leaders in the Greater Québec City Area Remain Optimistic for 2020

After a hiatus of one year, Québec International is back with its annual Conjoncture survey (Conjoncture 2020) examining the level of confidence of business leaders in the greater Québec City area. The survey was conducted from January 6 to 16 in collaboration with Léger (Québec City office). This year, consistent with the eight previous editions, Conjoncture 2020 focuses on three aspects: economic prospects, investment and human resources. In total, 129 business leaders from the Québec City census metropolitan area (CMA) took part in the survey. Here are the main findings.


The Québec City CMA continued its economic expansion for the 23rd year in a row in 2019. These positive results are consistent with the opinion of the surveyed business leaders, 89% of whom noted that this past year was excellent for their sector. The results of this survey also show that the economic prospects for 2020 will continue to be positive for the region.

2020 Economic Prospects

According to the survey, 84% of respondents were optimistic about the economic prospects for their sector. The index remains high for 2020 (74.8), almost as high as in 2018 (77.4).

  • Like in previous surveys, the level of optimism of business leaders regarding economic prospects is once again higher in the Québec City area than in every other territory surveyed. The regional economic vitality index (76.7) remains positive in 2020, almost as high as in 2018 (77.7). It is followed by Canada’s (72.63), the United States’ (70.9) and other territories around the world (66.6).
  • Measured for the first time this year, the economic vitality index for the European Union is also positive, with a level similar to that of other territories around the world (66.8).
  • As for the economic situation in the United States and in the world, we can conclude that the results are positive, even though they remain below 70. This situation seems to show that business leaders are less concerned about the world’s economic vitality in relation with business risks and tensions. In this regard, only 10% of them are concerned about the economic situation in the United States and their protectionist measures, 11% are concerned about the world’s economic situation, and 8% are concerned about the value of the Canadian dollar.

Businesses Are Still Growing

In 2020, business leaders from the Québec City CMA maintain their expansionist vision, continuing to grow and supporting hiring.

Investment Intentions: 68% of all respondents are planning to invest in their businesses in 2020; over 50% of them hope to prioritize investments in research and development (57%), in IT (55%) and in non-computer equipment (51%). These results are consistent with a recent survey from Bank of Canada.

Hiring Intentions: 76% of business leaders are planning on hiring over the next year, and 62% of them intend to recruit new talents primarily to support their growth.

Labour Recruitment and Retention: a Pressing Matter

The region’s economic performance in 2019 had an undeniable impact on business activity and job creation. The region reached a historical high of 459,500 people employed in 2019 due to 6,900 new jobs compared to the previous year. With a 3.1% unemployment rate, labour availability remains a constant concern for business leaders, as shown by the survey’s results.

For 88% of business leaders, recruitment presented a challenge, and 52% of them admitted facing this challenge often. This situation has been common over the past years. For those faced with difficulties finding labour, this always slows business growth (68%).

Once again, this year, recruitment and retention are the aspects that concern the highest number of business leaders: almost half of the respondents (48%).

None of the proposed measures for facing labour shortages drew a majority vote. However, simplifying immigration procedures and reducing immigration delays (21%) and creating incentives for integration and job retention in the various labour pools (20%) were two measures that would satisfy one in five businesses.

“The region’s economy will continue with the momentum from the previous years in 2020. This is why Québec International’s team is committed, through its Strategic Planning 2020-2022, to attracting and retaining talents and investments, guiding and coaching entrepreneurs in their projects, supporting excellence by implementing initiatives to better meet the needs of businesses and the business community in general. Highlighting the region’s economic vitality and its businesses’ accomplishments definitely contributes to the region’s visibility and attractiveness,” said Mr. Carl Viel, President and CEO of Québec International.

About Québec International

Québec International contributes to the economic development and international outreach of the Québec City metropolitan area. As a regional economic development agency, Québec International fosters business growth, supports key clusters and attracts talent and investment to the area. To learn more, visit www.quebecinternational.ca.