July 2018 Edition
This month we look at the economic indicators just released for May and June 2018.
The Regina economy posted a mixed bag of results
In the first two quarters of 2018, the Regina economy posted a mixed bag of results. Employment continues to increase, however, other indicators are in decline: housing starts and non-residential building permits. In addition, the number of unemployed continues to advance driving an increase in the unemployment rate.
- Total employment in the Greater Regina Area was up 0.5% or 750 positions in January to June 2018 over the same period in 2017. At the provincial level, year-to-date employment dropped by -1667 or -0.3%, despite a year over year increase of 3,900 in June.
- Year-to-date employment in June 2018 was up over the same period in 2017 in Utilities (200), Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (767), Business, building and other support services (1,800), Educational services (1,150), Other services (900), and Public administration (17).
- Year-to-date employment in June 2018 was down in Agriculture (-700), Resource Extraction (-267 ), Manufacturing (-133), Wholesale and Retail Trade (-467), Transportation and warehousing (-1083 ), Professional, scientific and technical services (-1617), Health care and social assistance (-1183 ), Information, culture and recreation (-317), and Accommodation and food services (-33).
- After a weak performance in 2017, construction employment bounced back in the first 6 months of 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, although remaining low at 5.6%, is up from 5.2% in June 2017. Despite job growth, the numbers of unemployed have advanced. The average year-to-date number of unemployed is up from 7,700 in June 2017 to 8,400 in June 2018.
- May 2018, total year-to-date housing starts are down by -140 units or -17.8%. Year-to-date increases were observed in apartment and other types (87 units or 31.3%). Year-to-date declines were noted in singles (-127 units or -44.9%), semi-detached (-90 units or -73.8%), and row (-10 units or -9.6%).
- May 2018 year-to-date building permits are down -8.1% over the same period in 2017.
- Sub-sectors that posted increases were: residential (12.6%) and industrial (53.4%). During the same time period commercial (-20.3%), and institutional and governmental (-60.2%) posted declines.
- With the pace of GDP growth at the national level exceeding potential and the economy operating at close to full capacity resulting in slightly higher inflation, the Bank of Canada raised the overnight rate to 1.5%, 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.