October 2019 Economic Report Card

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

The Greater Regina Area labour market continues to advance…

In the first 10 months of 2019 with substantive increases in year-to-date employment and drops in both the number of unemployed and the unemployment rate. With the exception of industrial and commercial building permits, all other monthly indicators declined in August 2019, despite a strong labour market.

  • Total employment in the Greater Regina Area was up 1.9% or 2,667 positions in January to September 2019 over the same period in 2018. At the provincial level, year-to-date employment increased by 11,411 or 2.0%.
  • Year-to-date employment in September 2019 was up over the same period in 2018 in Agriculture (656), Resource Extraction (778), Utilities (611), Manufacturing (211), Transportation and warehousing (744), Educational services (233), Accommodation and food services (1,800), Other services (189), and Public administration (856).
  • Year-to-date employment in September 2019 was down in Construction (-1311), Wholesale and Retail Trade (-167), Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (-244), Professional, scientific and technical services (-1056), Business, building and other support services (-378), Health care and social assistance (-100), and Information, culture and recreation (-133).
  • Construction employment bounced back in 2018 after a weak 2017. However, with year-to-date September 2019 construction employment down by 1,311 positions from the same period in 2018, these gains have been reversed.
  • The average year-to-date unemployment rate dropped from 6.0% to 5.0% in September 2019. Year-to-date, the number of unemployed is down 1,367 in September 2019 from September 2018 with the bulk of these being absorbed by the employed labour force.
  • Struggling with oversupply and tighter mortgage qualification rules, August 2019 total year-to-date housing starts are down by -532 units or -62.3%. Year-to-date declines were widespread and across all sub-categories: singles (-107 units or -42.0%), semi-detached (-38 units or-57.6%), row (-59 units or -44.7%), and apartment and other types (-328 units or-81.8%).
  • August 2019 year-to-date building permits are down -17.2% over the same period in 2018. Sub sectors that posted increases were: industrial              (2.9%) and commercial (44.8%). During the same time period residential (-38.5%) and institutional and governmental (-62.8%) posted declines.
  • The average year-to-date Housing Price Index Benchmark Price is down from $277,922 in September 2018 to $266,189 in September 2019.
  • As expected, the Bank of Canada held its overnight rate steady in its September 2019 rate announcement with an inflation remaining in its target range. There remains something of a risk of a cut by the end of 2020 as policymakers become more wary of slowing growth and global trade tension. The next announcement on the overnight rate target is October 30, 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.