July 2021 Economic Brief

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

Executive Summary

As the local economy moves through 2021, continued improvements in labour market statistics can be anticipated. Data now compares pandemic month to pandemic month and year to date employment is increasing at a significantly faster rate than that experienced at the provincial level. The only negatives are a high (but slowly declining) unemployment rate, weak commercial building permit data, and looming inflationary concerns which could spur increases in borrowing beyond 2021.

  • Average year to date total employment in the Greater Regina Region was up 5.2% or 6,633 positions in June 2020 to June 2021 over the same period in 2020. At the provincial level, average year to date employment increased by 16,167 or 3.0%.
  • Average year-to-date employment in June 2021 was up over the same period in 2020 in Agriculture (300), Utilities (383), Wholesale and Retail Trade (3,783), Professional, scientific and technical services (383), Business, building and other support services (600), Educational services (2,050), Health care and social assistance (1,117), Accommodation and food services (517), and public administration (2,600).
  • Average year-to-date employment in June 2021 was down in Resource Extraction (-450), Manufacturing (-233), Transportation and warehousing (-1,400), Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (-1,200), Information, culture and recreation (-2, 400), and other services (-733).
  • On the strength of strong residential construction activity, year-to-date June 2021 construction employment is up by 1,333 positions from the same period in 2020.
  • The average year-to-date unemployment rate declined from 8.8% in June 2020 to 7.9% in June 2021. Year-to-date, the average number of unemployed is down slightly by -634 to 11,633 from 12,267 in June 2021. In addition, the number of those of labour force age, but not in the labour force, decreased by 3,617 over the same time period as employment prospects improve.
  • Spurred by low borrowing cost and high savings levels, May 2021 total year-to-date housing starts are up by 90 units or 32.6% over the same time period in 2020. Year-to-date increases were observed in singles (32 units or 32.3%) and apartment and other types (64 units or 55.2%). Year-to-date declines were noted in semi-detached (-4 units or -15.4%) and row (-2 units or -5.7%).
  • May 2021 year to date building permits are down -16.2% over the same period in 2020. Sub sectors that posted increases were: Residential (17.3%), Industrial (12.0%), and institutional and governmental (40.2%). During the same time period, declines were limited to commercial (-54.7%).;
  • The average year-to-date Housing Price Index Benchmark Composite Price is up from $240,200 in June 2020 to $258,300 in June 2021.
  • In 3 rapid rate cuts on March 4, March 13, and March 27 2020, the Bank of Canada cut its benchmark interest rate to 0.25. In its July 2021 economic outlook, the Bank indicated that it will keep the rate at near-zero until the economy is ready to handle an increase in rates, which it doesn’t expect to happen until the second half of 2022.
  • 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 that Regina’s real GDP dropped 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.