July 2019 Economic Report Card

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

The Greater Regina Area labour market continues to improve…

In the first 6 months of 2019 with significant increases in year-to-date employment and drops in both the number of unemployed and the unemployment rate. Despite strong job numbers, all other monthly indicators declined in May 2019. The construction sector was particularly weak with steep declines in both housing starts and building permits, however, declines in commercial building permits are slowing.

  • Total employment in the Greater Regina Area was up 1.6% or 2,233 positions in January to June 2019 over the same period in 2018. At the provincial level, year-to-date employment increased by 10,700 or 1.9%.
  • Year-to-date employment in June 2019 was up over the same period in 2018 in Agriculture (733), Resource Extraction (483), Utilities (800), Transportation and warehousing (1,417), Educational services (933), Accommodation and food services (1,433), Other services (400), and Public administration (93).
  • Year-to-date employment in June 2019 was down in Manufacturing (-183), Wholesale and Retail Trade (-417), Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (-550), Professional, scientific and technical services (-1233), Business, building and other support services (-467), Health care and social assistance (-267), and Information, culture and recreation (-250).
  • 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 June construction employment down by 1,400 positions from the same period in 2018.
  • The average year-to-date unemployment rate dropped from 5.6% to 4.6% in June 2019. Year-to-date, the number of unemployed is down 1,417 in June 2019 from June 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), the employment rate (number of employed persons expressed as a percentage of the population 15 years of age and over), and an increases in the number of those of working age not in the labour force are slowing in the second quarter of 2019.
  • May 2019, total year-to-date housing starts are down by -452 units or -69.9%. Year-to-date declines were noted in singles (-81 units or -51.9%), semi-detached (-10 units or -31.3%), row (-36 units or -38.3%), and apartment and other types (-325 units or -89.0%).
  • May 2019 year-to-date building permits are down -50.2% over the same period in 2018. All subsectors posted declines: Residential (-52.6%), Industrial (-50.8%) Commercial (-12.3%), and institutional and governmental (-78.6%).
  • The average year-to-date Housing Price Index Benchmark Price is down from $277,200 in June 2018 to $265,267 in June 2019.
  • With the pace of GDP growth at the national level suggesting that the economy is operating at close to full capacity, the Bank of Canada raised the overnight rate to 1.75% on October 24, 2018, the highest rate since December 2008. However, the Bank of Canada held the rate at this level in July 2019 with domestic improvements being balanced by ongoing uncertainty related to trade conflicts. The next rate announcement is September 4, 2019.
  • 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 1.7% real GDP gain in 2019, following a 1.0% increase in 2018.