November 2019 Economic Report Card

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

The Greater Regina Area labor market continues to advance…

In to the final two quarters of 2019 with significant increases in year-to-date employment and drops in both the number of unemployed and the unemployment rate. Despite a strong labor market, all other monthly indicators declined in September/October 2019, with the exception of commercial building permits.

  • Total employment in the Greater Regina Area was up 1.9% or 2,680 positions from January to October 2019 over the same period in 2018. At the provincial level, year-to-date employment increased by 11,380 or 2.0% over the same period in 2018.
  • Year-to-date employment in October 2019 was up over the same period in 2018 Agriculture (600), Resource Extraction (790), Utilities (530), Manufacturing (310), Transportation and warehousing (500), Educational services (180), Health care and social assistance (10), Accommodation and food services (1,760), Other services (270), and Public Administration (760).
  • Year-to-date employment in October 2019 was down in Wholesale and Retail Trade (-10), Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (-240), Professional, scientific and technical services (-870), Business, building and other support services (-350), and Information, culture and recreation (-280).
  • Construction employment continues to stagnate in 2019 in tandem with soft building permit and housing start data. October 2019 average year-to-date construction employment is down by 1,290 positions from the same period in 2018.
  • The average year-to-date unemployment rate dropped from 6.0% to 5.0% in October 2019. Year-to-date, the number of unemployed is down by 1,430 in October 2019 from October 2018. With employment up by 2,680 over the same time period, the bulk of the reduction in unemployment was absorbed into the employed labor force.
  • Struggling with oversupply and tighter mortgage qualification rules, September 2019 total year-to-date housing starts are down by -526 units or -57.1%. Year-to-date declines were widespread and across all sub-categories: singles (-119 units or -41.6%), semi-detached (-36 units or -48.6%), row (-55 units or -35.5%), and apartment and other type (-316 units or -77.8%).
  • September 2019 year-to-date building permits are down -20.7% over the same period in 2018. Sub sectors that posted increases were: commercial (48.3%). During the same time period residential (-37.9%) industrial (-43.6%), and institutional and governmental (-62.7%) posted declines.
  • The average year-to-date Housing Price Index Benchmark Price is down from $278,000 in October 2018 to $265,560 in October 2019.
  • The Bank of Canada held its overnight rate steady in its October 2019 rate announcement with inflation remaining in its target range. This positions the country as an exception among advanced economies already responding to the weakening world economy. There remains something of a risk of a cut in 2020 with slowing growth and global trade tension. The next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is December 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 2.3 per cent real GDP gain in 2019, following a 0.8 percent increase in 2018.