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Québec City posts the lowest unemployment rate in Canada in the second quarterHighlightsCommentary

Monthly changes in employment data in Québec City CMA


  • According to Statistics Canada, the Québec City census metropolitan area (CMA) recorded an unemployment rate of 4.1% in the second quarter of 2016, the lowest in Canada.
  • Unemployment was down considerably from the first-quarter figure of 5.1% due to a sharp drop in the labour force (-1.1%), which outweighed the decrease in the total number of jobs (-0.1%).
  • The Québec City region finished the spring with a total of 432,500 jobs, thus keeping losses at only 300 compared with the first three months of the year.
  • The gain of 6,700 jobs from May to June put an end to a string of seven consecutive monthly losses.
  • In the province of Québec, the number of jobs fell by 11,200 on a monthly basis in June. Unemployment was down 0.1 points to 7.1%.

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Labour market in second quarter

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The Québec City CMA was #1 in Canada in the second quarter of 2016 as unemployment fell to 4.1%. The region regained first place among Canadian CMAs as memories of the first quarter (when unemployment stood at 5.1%) quickly faded. In numerical terms, the addition of 6,700 jobs from May to June put an end to seven consecutive monthly losses and pushed the total above 430,000. In the end, Québec City recorded 432,500 jobs in the second quarter, or 300 fewer than in the previous quarter.

Thanks to the second-quarter results, Québec City CMA is still within the elite group of Canada's top performers. The region is adjusting despite the fact that 5,200 people left the labour force in the second quarter. This is putting additional pressure on the pool of available workers, particularly in the 25-to-54 age group. According to non-seasonally adjusted data, jobs are being created, particularly full-time positions. As a result, unemployment dipped below the 4% threshold to 3.6% in June.

The sense of confidence with respect to Québec City's labour market remains positive thanks to a range of diversified opportunities. In addition, the manufacturing sector is benefiting from the improved global outlook. Work on major projects is gradually resuming as the services sector continues to expand. This regional portrait stands in stark contrast to the cross-Canada situation as the shrinking workforce in recent months appears to have been driven by jobseekers discouraged by local economic difficulties in other provinces.

Louis Gagnon
Senior Economist
Québec International