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Quebec City CMA: employment market returns to a more sustainable level in the third quarter HighlightsCommentary

The Quebec City CMA set the bar very high in 2011 with a record number of 431,500 jobs in the third quarter. Since then, the region has continued to experience sustained economic growth, fuelled by a 2.1% increase in real GDP in the first six months of 2012. However, the Quebec City region is not immune to the uncertainties still hanging over the global economy, which have brought the employment market back to a more sustainable level. In the third quarter of 2012, the Quebec City metropolitan region had a total of 415,300 jobs, down 16,200 year over year.


  • According to Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey, the employment market was more restrained in the Quebec City census metropolitan area (CMA) in the third quarter of 2012 compared with last year.
  • The region closed out the summer with a total of 415,300 jobs, down 16,200 year over year.
  • The regional unemployment rate remained among the lowest in Canada at 5.4% (4.5% in 2011).
  • In the province of Quebec, 14,700 jobs were added in the third quarter of 2012 compared with one year ago. The provincial unemployment rate rose by 0.3 points to 7.7%. 


Quebec City’s labour market experienced a cooling-off, primarily in construction and manufacturing. Both of these sectors had undertaken extensive hiring in 2011 and it will apparently be difficult to top that performance this year, even though activity levels are still high. In the coming months, demand for workers should remain steady thanks to preparations surrounding the construction of the new amphitheatre in Quebec City, not to mention the expansion of City Hall and Jean Lesage Airport. Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector will have to maintain its efforts to adjust to the US’s economic recovery, which has been slow to take hold.

The lull observed during the summer is largely attributable to the difficulty in repeating the achievements of 2011 in an economic context that is still undermined by uncertainty. This situation may well extend into the early fall. The fact remains, however, that the demand for labour will remain steady in the Quebec City region, as evidenced by the low unemployment rate in the third quarter (5.4%).  

Louis Gagnon
Senior Economist
Quebec International