August 2019 Economic Report Card

This month we look at the economic indicators just released for June and July 2019.

The Greater Regina Area labour market continues to surge…

In the first 7 months of 2019 with notable increases in year-to-date employment and drops in both the number of unemployed and the unemployment rate. Despite sterling job numbers, all other monthly indicators declined in June 2019. The construction sector was particularly weak with steep declines in both housing starts and building permits, however, commercial building permits showing signs of life.

  • Total employment in the Greater Regina Area was up 1.7% or 2,429 positions in January to July 2019 over the same period in 2018. At the provincial level, year-to-date employment increased by 10,914 or 1.9%.
  • Year-to-date employment in July 2019 was up over the same period in 2018 in Agriculture (743), Resource Extraction (600), Utilities (757), Transportation and warehousing (1,171), Educational services (586), Accommodation and food services (1,614), Other services (286), and Public Administration (1,000).
  • Year-to-date employment in July 2019 was down in Manufacturing (-57), Wholesale and Retail Trade (-429), Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (-371), Professional, scientific and technical services (-1,200), Business, building and other support services (-400), Health care and social assistance (-329), and Information, culture and recreation (-71).
  • Construction employment bounced back in 2018 and the first month of 2019 after a weak 2017. However, these gains have been reversed in the remainder of 2019 with year-to-date July construction employment down by 1,400 positions from the same period in 2018.
  • The average year-to-date unemployment rate dropped from 5.8% to 4.8% in July 2019. Year-to-date, the number of unemployed is down 1,414 in July 2019 from July 2018 with the bulk of these being absorbed by the employed labour force. In addition, drops in the participation rate (those working and seeking work expressed as a percentage of the population aged 15 years and over) and an increases in the number of those of working age not in the labour force are slowing in the first 7 months of 2019 while the employment rate (number of employed persons expressed as a percentage of the population 15 years of age and over) is even with 2018.
  • June 2019, total year-to-date housing starts are down by -460 units or -63.4% as the market continues to struggle with over supply and tighter mortgage rules. Year-to-date declines were noted in singles (-92 units or -47.7%), semi-detached (-16 units or -40.0%), row (-39 units or -35.8%), and apartment and other types (-313 units or -81.7%).
  • June 2019 year-to-date building permits are down -29.0% over the same period in 2018. Sub sectors that posted increases were limited to commercial (41.7%). During the same time period, residential (-42.6%), industrial (-31.9%), and institutional and governmental (-72.2%). posted declines.
  • The average year-to-date Housing Price Index Benchmark Price is down from $277,871 in July 2018 to $265,857 in July 2019.
  • The Bank of Canada is widely expected to hold its overnight rate steady in its September 2019 rate announcement with a strong, but slowing, domestic economy being balanced by ongoing uncertainty related to trade conflicts.
  • 2018 Regina Census Metropolitan Area population was up 2.3% over 2017 to 257,337 on the strength of international and intra-provincial migration. This can be expected to continue through 2019 with continued employment growth spurring further in-migration.
  • The Conference Board of Canada forecasts Regina’s economy to post a 2.3 per cent real GDP gain in 2019, following a 0.8 percent increase in 2018.