Economic Update: A Month of Small Wins Creates Momentum – September 2021
From improving the unemployment rate and the solid housing market to COVID numbers going in the right direction, Regina took several positive steps in September.
The economy in Regina continues to perform well. At 6.2%, Regina’s unemployment rate for September was the best unemployment number in over a year, since October 2020. This is the best unemployment rate in Canada, and it means more people are working and employment prospect have improved. Making up a significant number of positions in Regina, the stability of government jobs is a direct factor in helping Regina’s economy recover better than any other part of our country. Regina’s economy has now recovered 97% of the jobs lost in 2020 due to the COVID shutdown.
Regina’s housing prices are among the most affordable among comparable Canadian cities, currently at $267,700, amongst comparable cities. Although prices have increased by 7%, prices remain affordable for many millennials, making Regina one of the best places to put down some roots. Regina’s housing market continues to remain strong. Year-to-date in 2021, housing starts are up 23% with over 566 new houses being developed in the GRA. Single homes continue to be one of the strongest sectors, signalling an increased demand for housing in the GRA. Building permits are a leading indicator or construction activity. The growth rates over the past three months have increasing from 5%, 11% and recently 17% respectively.
Travel and Tourism
More than 48,000 flights were recorded in September 2021 – a 205% increase year-over-year compared to September 2020 and the second highest number recorded since March 2020. This is good news for Regina as our airport is set to open to international flights in November 2021. It also means that there’s huge potential for the GRA’s businesses to capitalize on visitors and tourists coming to Regina for the Canadian Western Agribition and a possible Saskatchewan Roughrider playoff game at Mosaic Stadium.
COVID-19 in the Queen City
The new daily case numbers and active case numbers are decreasing in the GRA, meaning that people are limiting their exposure and risk. With 80% of Regina people 12 and older fully vaccinated and a vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 on the horizon, residents are doing their best to combat the virus so we can return to as normal as possible in the Queen City. While we are hopeful that daily case numbers will continue to decline, 74% of COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan are occurring in people who are not fully vaccinated, underlining the critical importance of getting vaccinated when eligible to do so.
What do we take from all this? Since the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in July, along with the introduction of COVID vaccinations, Regina is slowly returning to its pre-COVID lifestyle, where we can meet safely in-person while enjoying everything our city has to offer. The economy is improving, Regina’s inflation rate is at 2.9% which is lower than the national average of 4.1% meaning that the average prices of grocery items, gas, clothing, and many other items remain competitive when compared to other cities. The effects of Regina’s “K-shaped” employment recovery remain, with some sectors demonstrating excellent growth and others little to no growth. Overall, however, there is reason to be hopeful. With unemployment rates improving, there are solid expectations for the future, including an increase in the GRA’s GDP, which is expected to advance by 5% in 2021. The GRA is gaining momentum.
The Economic Report Card is a joint initiative between Economic Development Regina Inc., Praxis Consulting, and SJ Research Services. It provides a concise report of key economic indicators for the Greater Regina Area, updated monthly.
This month we look at the economic indicators released for February 2022.