October 2018 Economic Report Card

The Regina economy continues to slow…

In the first eight to nine months of 2018, the Regina economy has slowed. Only average year to date employment and industrial building permits have posted increases with all other monthly indicators in decline: housing starts and total building permits dropped sharply combined with increases in the unemployed and unemployment rates.

  • Despite a year-over-year drop of 1,000 positions, total average year-to-date employment in the Greater Regina Area was up 0.2% or 333 positions in January to September 2018 over the same period in 2017. At the provincial level, year-to-date employment dropped by -911 or -0.2%.
  • Year-to-date employment in September 2018 was up over the same period in 2017 in Utilities (111), Finance, Insurance, Real Estate and Leasing (700), Business, Building and other support services (1,611), Educational Services (1,444), Other services (511), and Public Administration (167).
  • Year-to-date employment in September 2018 was down in Agriculture (-511), Resource Extraction (-667), Manufacturing (-722), Wholesale and Retail Trade (-600), Transportation and Warehousing (-333), Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (-1233), Health Care and Social Assistance (-1189), Information, Culture and Recreation (-500), and Accommodation and Food Services (-67).
  • After a weak performance in 2017, construction employment continues to bounce back in 2018. Year-to-date September construction employment is up by 1,567 positions from the same period in 2017 on the strength of non-residential construction.
  • The average year-to-date unemployment rate increased to 6% in September 2018, up from 5.3% in September 2017. With limited job growth, the numbers of unemployed advanced sharply. The average year-to-date number of unemployed is up from 7,900 in September 2017 to 8,900 in September 2018.
  • August 2018 total year-to-date housing starts are down by -566 units or -39.9% as the market struggles with over supply and stricter borrowing rules. Year-to-date declines were widespread and encountered across all classes of dwelling units: singles (-241 units or -48.6%), semi-detached (-100 units or -60.2%), row (-48 units or -26.7%), and apartment and other types (-177 units or -30.6%).
  • August 2018 year-to-date building permits, a leading indicator of construction activity, are down -33% over the same period in 2017. The only sub sector that posted an increase was industrial (12.9%). During the same time period residential (-30.6%), commercial (-37.1%), and institutional and governmental (-53.9%) posted declines.
  • The average year-to-date Housing Price Index Benchmark Price is down from $292,111 in September 2017 to $276,933 in September 2018.
  • 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 1.5% in July, up from 1.25%. It was the bank’s fourth increase over the last 12 months and represents the highest rate since December 2008. In a September 5 announcement, rates were held constant but an October 24 rate hike is likely and more to follow in 2019 with additional GDP growth stemming from the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
  • 2017 Regina Census Metropolitan Area population was up 2.4% over 2016 to 253,220 on the strength of international and intraprovincial migration. This can be expected to continue through 2018 with continued, although slowing, employment growth spurring further in-migration.
  • The Conference Board of Canada forecasts Regina’s economy to post a 2.2% real GDP gain in 2018, following a 1.5% increase in 2017.