The Quebec City metropolitan region started off 2014 with a bang, just like it ended 2013. The dynamic local job market is among the strongest in Canada. In the first quarter of 2014, Quebec City added 12,800 jobs compared with the fourth quarter of 2013. This gain came on top of the 11,100 jobs added during the previous quarter. It was the second-best performance nationally, after Vancouver (+14,100 jobs). In addition, unemployment dropped from 4.7% at the end of December to 4.1% at the end of March, one of the lowest rates nationwide.
- The Quebec City census metropolitan area (CMA) added 12,800 jobs in the first quarter of 2014 compared with the last quarter of 2013.
- Quebec City notched the second-best performance in Canada after Vancouver (+14,100 jobs). It was the region’s best start to the year since 2005 (+11,400 jobs).
- Unemployment stood at 4.1% in Quebec City in the first quarter, down from 4.7% at the end of December 2013. This was the second-lowest rate in Canada after Regina (3.7%).
- The Quebec City metropolitan region also turned in a strong performance in March, with a monthly gain of 2,900 jobs.
- In the province of Quebec, the total number of jobs rose by 15,100 from February to March. Unemployment dropped to 7.6% in March, down from 7.8% the month before.
This outstanding start to the year was primarily driven by the service sector and manufacturing. The construction industry remains fairly calm in terms of hiring, although the arrival of spring could see a gradual increase in the need for workers on residential, non-residential and road projects. In addition, the data for the most recent quarter would appear to confirm hiring gains among young people in the 15-to-24 age group, in contrast with a slight drop in 2013.
This strong performance bodes well for the region and the spring could prolong this situation further. However, the low unemployment rate stands as a reminder that the available potential labour pool continues to shrink.