December 2017 Edition
This month we look at the economic indicators just released for October and November 2017.
Regina’s economy continues to expand
Counter to provincial trends, most economic indicators in the Greater Regina Area posted advances over the previous year as the GRA’s economy continues to expand. The only area of weakness observed was in government/institutional building permits:
- Total employment in the Greater Regina Area was up 0.8% or 1,200 positions in January to November 2017 over the same period in 2016. Month over month changes, after three consecutive months of decline, advanced by 900 positions from November 2016 to November 2017. At the provincial level, year to date employment dropped by 900 or 0.2% over the same time period.
- Year-to-date employment in November 2017 was up over the same period in 2016 in agriculture (300), manufacturing (1,800), professional, scientific and technical services (900), healthcare (400), accommodation and food services (100), and public administration (700).
- Year-to-date employment in November 2017 was down in resource extraction (-200), utilities (-200), wholesale and retail trade (-300), finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (-800), business, building and other support services (-100), information, culture and recreation (-300), and other services (-300).
- Construction employment remains suppressed. Year-to-date November construction employment is down by 1000 positions from the same period in 2016. with stadium and K+S work complete, other construction activity in the region, such as the Regina bypass and new home construction, are not of sufficient scale to absorb all position losses.
- The average year-to-date unemployment rate remains low at 5.2%, down from 5.3% in November 2016. Year to date, number of unemployed is virtually unchanged from the same period in 2016, however, the number of unemployed dropped by 1000 persons when comparing November 2016 to November 2017.
- Total housing starts are up by 410 units or 31.3%, rising from 1,311 units in January to October 2016 to 1,721 units in January to October 2017. Increases were widespread across singles, semi-detached, row houses, and apartment units.
- January to October 2017 year to date building permits are up 0.7% over the same period in 2016. Most sub sectors posted increases: residential (16.5%), industrial (24.5%), commercial (53.1%), with only government/institutional permits showing a decline (-65.9%).
- Despite low inflation, the Bank of Canada’s first interest-rate hike in seven years occurred in July, 2017. The central bank raised its overnight lending rate to 0.75 per cent from 0.5 per cent in response to higher than anticipated growth. A second hike to 1.0 percent occurred in September. Higher rates are expected to help to cool the housing market and slow debt-fueled purchases.
- 2016 population was up 2.6% over 2015 to 247,224 on the strength of international and intraprovincial migration. This can be expected to continue through 2017 with continued employment growth spurring further in-migration.
- The Conference Board of Canada forecasts Regina’s economy to post a 1.5 per cent real GDP gain in 2017, following a 0.7 percent drop in 2016.