Based on estimates from the Conference Board of Canada (CBoC), real gross domestic product (GDP) in the Québec City census metropolitan area (CMA) was $40.1B in 2022, an annual increase of 1.5%. This growth is lower than what the CBoC had projected last year. The CBoC’s overestimation was caused in part by a resurgence of inflation in 2022. On that front, inflation affected all regions of Canada, not only the Québec City CMA. However, the region’s overall growth of 1.5% approaches the average registered between 2010 and 2019.
As for the standard of living and productivity levels, the region continues to lag behind the other major Canadian CMAs. After a challenging year from coast to coast, the region ranked last in Canada, with the standard of living established at $47,088 and the GDP per job at $91,469.
Global inflation and economic uncertainty due in part to the war in Ukraine, the sanctions in Russia as a result of the war, the major economic downturn in China, the tense relations in Asia, the inflation pressures and the soaring interest rates will remain current challenges in 2023 and will likely affect growth. According to various forecasters, growth will probably remain modest in the region (+0.4%), the province (+0.2%) and the country (+0.7%). Furthermore, it will be dependent on the increase in productivity during the next year.
In May 2022, the Conference Board of Canada was predicting a strong economic upswing, with a 3.4% increase in GDP for Québec City, 3% for the province of Quebec, and 4.1% for Canada. In reality, GDP increase was more moderate in 2022. This is explained by the uncertain economic situation and the soaring inflation.
The standard of living and productivity are intertwined. Although the available indicators are not perfect, they remind us that the CMA and the province of Quebec are lagging behind the rest of Canada in both aspects. The evolution of these two areas is especially important when we consider that in the long term, the region’s growth will rely on productivity to cope with the aging of the population.
By making the digital shift and reorganizing work, businesses will become more efficient and therefore more competitive. Although immigration can help alleviate labour scarcity, it is not enough to solve the issue by itself. Productivity gains will be necessary in order to support growth in the coming years.