September 2018 Economic Report Card

Impact Regina is a joint initiative between Economic Development Regina Inc., Praxis Consulting, and SJ Research Services. It provides a concise Economic Report Card of key economic indicators for the Greater Regina Area, updated monthly.

This month we look at the economic indicators just released for July and August 2018.

The Regina Economy continues to slow…

So far in 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 100 positons (slower than the 400 drop in July), total average year-to-date employment in the Greater Regina Area was up 0.4% or 500 positions in January to August 2018 over the same period in 2017. At the provincial level, year-to-date employment dropped by -1438 or -0.3%.
  • Year-to-date employment in August 2018 was up over the same period in 2017 in Utilities (138), Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (700), Business, building and other support services (1,600), Educational services (1,375), Accommodation and food services (13), Other services (625), and Public administration (138).
  • Year-to-date employment in August 2018 was down in Agriculture (-588), Resource Extraction (-550 ), Manufacturing (-562), Wholesale and Retail Trade (-475), Transportation and warehousing (-563), Professional, scientific and technical services (-1325), Health care and social assistance (-1175), and Information, culture and recreation (-550).
  • After a weak performance in 2017, construction employment continues to bounce back in 2018. Year-to-date August construction employment is up by 1,625 positions from the same period in 2017 on the strength of non-residential construction.
  • The average year-to-date unemployment rate continues to inch up to 5.9% in August 2018, up from 5.3% in August 2017. Despite job growth, the numbers of unemployed have advanced. Year to date, the average year to date number of unemployed is up from 7,800 in July 2017 to 8,800 in July 2018.
  • July 2018 total year-to-date housing starts are down by -369 units or -31.8% 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 (-213 units or -49.0%), semi-detached (-94 units or -62.7%), row (-51 units or -29.7%), and apartment and other types (-11 units or -2.7%).
  • July 2018 year to date building permits, a leading indicator of construction activity, are down -33.1% over the same period in 2017. The only sub sector that posted an increase was industrial (39.4%). During the same time period, residential (-26.9%), commercial (-44.8%), and institutional and governmental (-57.1%) posted declines.
  • The average year-to-date Housing Price Index Benchmark Price is down from $292,288 in August 2017 to $276,925 in August 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 the door remained open for an October increase if the NAFTA deal is close to signing.
  • 2017 Regina Census Metropolitan Area population was up 2.4% over 2016 to 253,220 on the strength of international and intra-provincial 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.