December 2019 Economic Report Card

This month we look at the economic indicators just released for October and November 2019.

The Greater Regina Area labour market continues to advance…

In the first 11 months of 2019 with substantive increases in year-to-date employment and drops in both the number of unemployed and the unemployment rate. Resilience in the labour market is at odds with the rest of the economy. With the exception of commercial building permits, all other monthly indicators declined in October 2019.

  • Total employment in the Greater Regina Area was up or 2,455 positions or 1.7% in January to November 2019 over the same period in 2018. The bulk of this growth was in part-time positions. At the provincial level, year-to-date employment increased by 10,736 or 1.9%.
  • Year-to-date employment in November 2019 was up over the same period in 2018 in Agriculture (527), Resource Extraction (764), Utilities (436), Manufacturing (345), Wholesale and Retail Trade (36), Transportation and warehousing (245), Educational services (73), Health care and social assistance (55), Accommodation and food services (1,682), Other services (400), and Public administration (788).
  • Year-to-date employment in November 2019 was down in Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (-164), Professional, scientific and technical services (-618), Business, building and other support services (-291), and Information, culture and recreation (-400).
  • Year-to-date November 2019 construction employment is down by 1,327 positions from the same period in 2018 in tandem with soft housing starts building permit data.
  • The average year-to-date unemployment rate dropped from 6.0% to 5.1% in November 2019. Year-to-date, the number of unemployed is down 1,291 in November 2019 from November 2018 with the bulk of these being absorbed by the employed labour force. Month-over-month (November 2018 to November 2019) saw the unemployment rate increase slightly from 5.7% to 5.8%.
  • Struggling with over supply and tighter mortgage qualification rules, October 2019, total year-to-date housing starts are down by -604 units or -57.2%. Year-to-date declines were widespread and across all sub-categories: singles (-113 units or -36.2%), semi-detached (-42 units or -52.5%), row (-69 units or -40.8%), and apartment and other types (-380 units or -76.8%).
  • October 2019 year-to-date building permits are down -17.7% over the same period in 2018. Sub sectors that posted increases were limited to commercial (44.1%). During the same time period, residential (-34.2%), industrial (-35.0%), and institutional and governmental (-62.3%) posted declines.
  • The average year-to-date Housing Price Index Benchmark Price is down from $277,709 in November 2018 to $265,018 in November 2019.
  • The Bank of Canada held its overnight rate steady in its December 2019 rate announcement with inflation remaining in its target range. With many advanced economies weighing rate cuts due to weakening world economy, Canada remains an exception. The Bank of Canada acknowledges that rate cut in 2020 could occur with slowing growth and global trade tension. The next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is January 22, 2020.
  • 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 1.6 per cent real GDP gain in 2019, following a 1.5 percent increase in 2018.