August 2018 Edition
This month we look at the economic indicators just released for June and July 2018.
The Regina economy has slowed dramatically...
So far in 2018 the Regina economy has slowed dramatically. Only average year-to-date employment continues to increase with all other monthly indicators in decline: housing starts and building permits dropped sharply combined with increases in the unemployed and unemployment rates.
- Despite a year over year drop of 400 positons, total average year to date employment in the Greater Regina Area was up 0.4% or 586 positions in January to July 2018 over the same period in 2017. At the provincial level, year-to-date employment dropped by -1857 or -0.3%.
- Year-to-date employment in July 2018 was up over the same period in 2017 in Utilities (143), Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (714 ), Business, building and other support services (1,686), Educational services (1,257), Accommodation and food services (29), Other services (729), and Public administration (43).
- Year-to-date employment in July 2018 was down in Agriculture (-657), Resource Extraction (-386), Manufacturing (-357), Wholesale and Retail Trade (-414), Transportation and warehousing (-800), Professional, scientific and technical services (-1443), Health care and social assistance (-1157), and Information, culture and recreation (-486).
- After a weak performance in 2017, construction employment continues to bounce back in 2018. Year-to-date June construction employment is up by 1,600 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 5.8% in July 2018, up from 5.2% in July 2017. Despite job growth, the numbers of unemployed have advanced. Year to date, the average number of unemployed is up from 7,700 in July 2017 to 8,600 in July 2018.
- June 2018 total year-to-date housing starts are down by -247 units or -25.4% as the market struggles with over supply and stricter borrowing rules. Year-to-date increases were observed in apartment and other types (35 units or 10.1%). Year-to-date declines were noted in singles (-158 units or -45.0%), semi-detached (-98 units or -71.0%) and row (-26 units or -19.3%).
- June 2018 year-to-date building permits are down -29.4% over the same period in 2017. The only sub sector that posted an increase was industrial (40.0%). During the same time period residential (-18.3%), commercial (-46.1%), and institutional and governmental (-58.3%) all posted declines.
- In tandem with weak housing starts and building permit data, the average year-to-date Housing Price Index Benchmark Value is down from $294,614 in July 2017 to $278,714 in July 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.
- 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.