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Unemployment in Québec City falls to 4.5% in AprilHighlightsCommentary

Monthly changes in employment data in Québec City CMA


  • The Québec City census metropolitan area (CMA) recorded 4,5% unemployment in April 2016, down 0,6 points since March and good for second place in Canada.
  • The decline in the workforce (-1,7%) exceeded the drop in job numbers (-1,1%), sending the unemployment rate below the 5% mark.
  • The shrinking labour pool once again led to job losses in Québec City in April. The region had a total of 427,900 jobs, down 4,900 from March.
  • Across the province of Québec, unemployment held steady at 7,5% in April. In terms of total numbers, the Québec economy gained 1,800 jobs from March to April.

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Labour market in April

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The demand for labour remains very high in the Québec City region, as evidenced by the lower unemployment rate (4.5% in April, down from 5,1% in March). The region, however, is also grappling with a drop in the total workforce (down 1,7% from March to April). This explains why the total number of jobs has been decreasing in Québec City since the beginning of the year. In April, the region had 427,900 jobs, down 4,900 from March.

So the stakes are high for the Québec City region. On the one hand, companies are boosting hiring to ensure growth and renew their staffing levels as retiring employees leave the workforce. In this regard, pressure is being exerted by all economic sectors due to the expansion of service companies as well as manufacturers, not to mention the completion of numerous construction projects. On the other hand, qualified candidates are increasingly hard to find. In the 15-to-24 and 25-to-54 year-old age groups, for example, unemployment dropped below the 5% mark in April to 4.8% and 4.9% respectively (deseasonalized data). The 25-to-54 group has been the main focus of attention since it accounts for nearly 66% of the regional workforce. A 1,1% drop in job numbers from March to April, therefore, has a direct impact on the number of potential jobseekers entering the workforce.

In recent years, the labour market has been fully mobilized in the Québec City CMA, hitting new heights. For 2016, we still anticipate that the overall performance will be positive. Due to the shrinking labour pool facing employers, however, expectations will be reduced.

Louis Gagnon
Senior Economist
Québec International