April 2021 Economic Brief

This month we look at the economic indicators released for March 2021.

Executive Summary

Job losses in the Regina region are, so far in 2021, showing signs of slowing and, on a percentage basis, are lower than those experienced at the provincial level. As the economy moves through 2021, we can anticipate an improvement in labour market statistics since comparisons will now be made between pandemic impacted months. However, the labour market will continue be adversely affected until a full vaccine rollout occurs. Despite this, home construction remains strong in tandem with increases in residential building permits and home prices.

  • Average Year to date Total employment in the Greater Regina Region was down -1.1% or -1,433 positions in March 2020 to March 2021 over the same period in 2020. At the provincial level, average year to date employment decreased by -16,467 or -3.0%.
  • Average year-to-date employment in March 2021 was up over the same period in 2020 in Agriculture (467), Utilities (533), Manufacturing (33), Wholesale and Retail Trade (1,700), Business, building and other support services (233), Educational services (1,300), Health care and social assistance (1,433), and Public administration (2,833).
  • Average year-to-date employment in March 2021 was down in Resource Extraction (-500), Transportation and warehousing (-1,267), Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (-2,367), Professional, scientific and technical services (-533), Information, culture and recreation (-2,900), Accommodation and food services (-1,667) and other services (-1,167).
  • On the strength of strong residential construction activity, year-to-date March 2021 construction employment is up by 500 positions from the same period in 2020.
  • The average year-to-date unemployment rate advanced from 7% in March 2020 to 8.2% in March 2021. Year-to-date, the average number of unemployed is up 1,833 to 11,800 in March 2021 from 9,967 March 2020. In addition, the number of those of labour force age but not in the labour force increased by 2,100 over the same time period as some workers have withdrawn from actively seeking employment until prospects improve. Both increases in the number of unemployed and those of labour force age not in the labour force are, so far in 2021, notably lower than those experienced in 2020
  • Driven by low inventories, low interest rates, record savings levels, and a loosening of mortgage restrictions February 2021 total year-to-date housing starts are up by 67 units or 77.9%. Year-to-date increases were observed in semi-detached (12 units or 600.0%) and apartment and other types (61 units or 196.8%). Year-to-date declines were noted in singles (-5 units or -11.9%) and row (-1 units or -9.1%).
  • February 2021 year to date building permits are down -41.1% over the same period in 2020. Sub sectors that posted increases were residential (5.0%) and institutional and governmental (177.0%). During the same time period industrial (-81.6%) and commercial (-79.0%) posted declines.
  • The average year-to-date Housing Price Index Benchmark Composite Price is up from $224,000 in March 2020 to $239,933 in March 2021.
  • In 3 rapid rate cuts on March 4, March 13, and March 27, the Bank of Canada cut its benchmark interest rate to 0.25. The Bank of Canada will likely keep its benchmark rate near zero in the medium term to spur post pandemic economic activity. In its March 2021 rate announcement, the Bank of Canada reiterated that it has no plans to raise its rate for another two years.
  • Regina Census Metropolitan Area population was up 2,319 or 0.9% from 260,865 in 2019 to 263,184 in 2020. Slowing population growth was due to travel restrictions and their impact on international in-migration and weaker than expected inter-provincial net migration.
  • The Conference Board of Canada estimated Regina real GDP to drop by 3.8 % in 2020 Real GDP is expected to advance by 5% in 2021.

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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.