January 2020 Edition
This month we look at the economic indicators just released for November and December 2019.
The Greater Regina Area labour market was a bright spot in 2019...
With noteworthy increases in year-to-date employment and drops in both the number of unemployed and the unemployment rate. Although increases in employment were largely in part-time positions, a strong labour market was not reflected in the rest of the economy. With the exception of commercial building permits, all other monthly indicators declined in November 2019.
- Total employment in the Greater Regina Area was up 1.6% or 2,183 positions in January to December 2019 over the same period in 2018. The bulk of this growth was in part-time positions. At the provincial level, year-to-date employment increased by 10,400 or 1.8%.
- Year-to-date employment in December 2019 was up over the same period in 2018 in Agriculture (450), Resource Extraction (638), Utilities (350), Manufacturing (325), Wholesale and Retail Trade (17), Transportation and warehousing (33), Accommodation and food services (1,617), Other services (550), and Public administration (583).
- Year-to-date employment in December 2019 was down in Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (-25), Professional, scientific and technical services (-375), Business, building and other support services (-200), Educational services (-117), Health care and social assistance (-8), and Information, culture and recreation (-417).
- Year-to-date December 2019 construction employment is down by 1,367 positions from the same period in 2018 reflecting weak housing starts and building permit data.
- The average year-to-date unemployment rate dropped from 5.9% in December 2018 to 5.1% in December 2019. Year-to-date, the number of unemployed is down 1,150 in December 2019 from December 2018. With employment increasing by 2,183, over the same time period, it is likely that the bulk of the drop in the number of unemployed was absorbed by the employed labour force. Month-over-month (December 2018 to December 2019) saw the unemployment rate increase slightly from 5.2% to 5.5%
- Struggling with over supply and tighter mortgage qualification rules, November 2019 total year-to-date housing starts are down by -589 units or -53.6%. Year-to-date declines were widespread and across all sub-categories: singles (-88 units or -26.8%), semi-detached (-46 units or -54.8%), row (-73 units or -38.6%), and apartment and other types (-382 units or -76.9%).
- November 2019 year-to-date building permits are down -14.3% over the same period in 2018. Sub sectors that posted increases were limited to commercial (59.7%). During the same time period, residential (-34.4%), industrial (-34.1%), and institutional and governmental (-67.2%) posted declines.
- The average year-to-date Housing Price Index Benchmark Price is down from $277,150 in December 2018 to $264,467 in December 2019.
- The Bank of Canada held its overnight rate steady in its December 2019 rate announcement with inflation remaining in its target range. With many advanced economies weighing rate cuts due to weakening world economy, Canada remains an exception. The Bank of Canada acknowledges that rate cut in 2020 could occur with slowing growth and global trade tension. The next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is January 22, 2020.
- 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 release of 2019 data is expected in February/March 2020.
- The Conference Board of Canada forecasts Regina’s economy to post a 1.6 per cent real GDP gain in 2019, following a 1.5 percent increase in 2018.