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Unemployment climbs slightly in the Quebec City region HighlightsCommentary

In the province of Quebec, the total number of jobs fell by 8,400 on a monthly basis in June. The unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage points to 7.9%.


  • According to Statistics Canada’s most recent Labour Force Survey, the Quebec City census metropolitan area (CMA) recorded a total of 422,000 jobs at the end of June, down 6,100 from the first quarter.
  • The decline in the number of jobs (-1.4%), combined with a drop in the total workforce (-1.1%), kept unemployment low in the second quarter (4.8%, up slightly from 4.4% in the first quarter).


The employment market slowed during the spring in the Quebec City region, compared with the first quarter. The region recorded a total of 422,000 jobs in the second quarter, down 6,100 from the first quarter. Despite that, Quebec City has maintained a net positive performance since the beginning of the year. At the end of June, there were 3,300 more jobs than there were in December 2012. The steady demand for labour in the metropolitan region, particularly for qualified workers, is also helping to keep unemployment low (regional unemployment stood at 4.8% in the second quarter, one of the lowest rates in Canada).

The construction industry picked up the pace in the second quarter thanks to a number of major projects. The number of jobs has nearly reached the level last seen in summer 2012. The manufacturing sector also fared well in the spring: the gradual improvement in the global outlook no doubt helped spur demand for new workers. Bucking past trends, the services sector (which accounts for over 87% of jobs in Quebec City) has had an up-and-down year so far. The current lull is thus having a more immediate impact on the region’s overall performance.

The labour market in the Quebec City CMA had a slower second quarter, although the drop-off was not evenly distributed across the sectors. The presence of key high-growth industries, the completion of various major projects and the positive global outlook (pointing to gradual economic recovery) will all help to bolster the demand for labour in the coming months.

Louis Gagnon
Senior Economist
Quebec International