The Slow Climb Continues

Anyone who has enjoyed an afternoon of tobogganing knows it takes a lot more time and effort to get back up the hill that it does to get down. With the onset of COVID-19, we saw a deep and sudden drop in almost every sector of our economy.

Our September Economic Report Card numbers are showing us that we’re now in the long, slow walk back up the hill. We have a long way to go, but the good news is, we’re moving in the right direction. And we only need to look back to where we started to see the progress we’ve made.

With that in mind, let’s look at a few indicators:

  • Regina’s unemployment rate continues its downward movement as more people are getting back to work. At 9.7%, our unemployment rate is down almost two full points from it’s high of 11.6% in June. Clearly we’re not back to last year’s 5.6%, but this is real progress.
  • The pent-up demand in the Regina’s housing market has sales 18.8% above the five-year average and 20.8% above the 10-year average. While the cooling weather is expected to slow sales, it is noteworthy that year-to-date sales are up 5.9% and the year-to-date housing price index is up 1.2%
  • The Bank of Canada is expected to keep borrowing rates low for the foreseeable future, helping people enter (or re-enter) the housing market and pay down mortgage principles faster.
  • Nationally, with people coming back to work and continued government support, we’re seeing consumer spending return to – and exceed – pre-pandemic levels. This momentum has carried into other aspects of the economy such as manufacturing sales and trade activity.

Every step up the hill makes a difference. Looking toward the end of 2020 (something many of us will welcome with open arms), many economists are calling for strong national growth in the third and fourth quarters of the year. And while our energy sector is still feeling the effects of low oil prices, Regina’s economy will continue its slow march upward.

Finally – a reminder that it never hurts to have a little help on the climb. To that end, the Regina Recovery Grant Program supports the short-term needs and longer-term recovery efforts of Regina businesses. If you’re looking for a hand up, this program might be worth a look.