February 2020 Economic Report Card

The Greater Regina Area labour market had a stellar 2019…

With noteworthy increases in year-to-date employment, mostly part-time, and drops in both the number of unemployed and the unemployment rate. Although a single month may not indicate a trend, one month into 2020, employment is down sharply and unemployment is up, in line with other indicators. With the exception of commercial building permits, all other monthly indicators declined in December 2019.

  • Total employment in the Greater Regina Area was down -2.6% or -3,700 positions in January to December 2019 over the same period in 2018. These losses occurred entirely in full-time positions. Part-time employment advanced slightly by 200 positions. At the provincial level, year-to-date employment increased by 3,900 or 0.7%.
  • Year-to-date employment in January 2020 was up over the same period in 2019 in Resource Extraction (200), Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (2,300), Professional, scientific and technical services (2,200), Business, building and other support services (700), Accommodation and food services (100), and Other services (1,400).
  • Year-to-date employment in January 2020 was down in Agriculture (-800), Utilities (-800), Wholesale and Retail Trade (-1300), Transportation and warehousing (-1900), Educational services (-2500), Health care and social assistance (-800), and Public administration (-100).
  • Year-to-date January 2020 construction employment is down by 2,300 positions from the same period in 2019 in tandem with weak housing starts and residential building permit data.
  • The average year-to-date unemployment rate advanced from 4.5% in January 2019 to 6.3% in January 2020. Year-to-date, the number of unemployed is up 2,600 in in January 2020 from in January 2019. With employment dropping by 3,700 over the same time period and the number of those of labour force age but not in the labour force increasing by 5,100, it can be assumed that the Regina Area is experiencing something of a “discouraged worker effect” where workers have withdrawn from actively seeking employment until prospects improve.
  • Struggling with over supply and tighter mortgage qualification rules, December 2019, total year-to-date housing starts are down by -602 units or -52.9%. Year-to-date declines were widespread and across all sub-categories of starts: singles (-104 units or -29.5%), semi-detached (-56 units or -59.6%), row (-77 units or -39.9%), and apartment and other types (-365 units or -73.0%).
  • December 2019 year-to-date building permits are down -9.5% over the same period in 2018. Sub sectors that posted increases were limited to: commercial (63.4%). During the same time period residential (-27.0%), Industrial (-34.0%), and institutional and governmental (-63.5%) all posted declines.
  • The average year-to-date Housing Price Index Benchmark Price is down from $268,200 in January 2019 to $249,800 in January 2020.
  • With inflation remaining in its target range, the Bank of Canada held its overnight rate steady at 1.75%, as expected, in its January 2020 rate announcement. The Bank’s policy statement recognized the slowdown in near term economic growth and a widening output gap. The Bank of Canada did not close the door on future rate cuts noting continued global trade tensions. The next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is March 4, 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 release of 2019 data is expected in February/March 2020.
  • 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.