May 2021 Economic Brief

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

Executive Summary

The labour market in the Regina region has finally turned around. Noting that the data is now comparing pandemic month to pandemic month, year to date employment is increasing at a slightly faster rate than that experienced at the provincial level. As the economy moves through 2021, we can anticipate continued improvements in labour market statistics. The only negatives are a persistently high unemployment rate, soft non-residential building permit data, and looming inflationary concerns.

  • Average Year to date Total employment in the Greater Regina Region was up 0.6% or 825 positions in April 2020 to April 2021 over the same period in 2020. At the provincial level, average year to date employment decreased by 2,275 or 0.4%.
  • Average year-to-date employment in April 2021 was up over the same period in 2020 in Agriculture (375), Utilities (425), Wholesale and Retail Trade (2,225), Business, building and other support services (350), Educational services (1,650), Health care and social assistance (1,325), and Public administration (2,650).
  • Average year-to-date employment in April 2021 was down in Resource Extraction (-525), Transportation and warehousing (-1,475), Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (-1,975), Professional, scientific and technical services (-200), Information, culture and recreation (-2,775), Accommodation and food services (-900), and other services (-1,100).
  • On the strength of strong residential construction activity, year-to-date April 2021 construction employment is up by 850 positions from the same period in 2020.
  • The average year-to-date unemployment rate advanced from 7.5% in April 2020 to 8.3% in April 2021. Year-to-date, the average number of unemployed is up 1,425 to 12,000 in April 2021 from 10,575 April 2020. In addition, the number of those of labour force age but not in the labour force increased by only 200 over the same time period as some workers have withdrawn from actively seeking employment until prospects improve. Both increases in the number of unemployed and those of labour force age not in the labour force are, so far in 2021, notably lower than those experienced in 2020.
  • Driven by low inventories, low interest rates, record savings levels, and a loosening of mortgage restrictions March 2021, total year-to-date housing starts are up by 99 units or 64.3%. Year-to-date increases were observed in semi-detached (18 units or 450.0%) and apartment and other types (103 units or 187.3%). Year-to-date declines were noted in singles (-10 units or -14.5%) and row (-12 units or -46.2%).
  • March 2021 year to date building permits are down -37.7% over the same period in 2020. Sub sectors that posted increases were: residential (11.7%) and institutional and governmental (222.8%). During the same time period, industrial (-66.4%) and commercial (-79.6%) posted declines.
  • The average year-to-date Housing Price Index Benchmark Composite Price is up from $236,275 in April 2020 to $253,925 in April 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. The Bank of Canada will likely keep its benchmark rate near zero in the medium term to spur post pandemic economic activity. In its March 2021 rate announcement, the Bank of Canada reiterated that it has no plans to raise its rate for another two years.
  • 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 Regina real GDP to drop 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.