August 2021 Economic Report Card

This month we look at the economic indicators released for July 2021.

Executive Summary

As the province arrives through the middle of the year, continued improvements in labour market statistics can be expected in the local economy for the rest of 2021. Year to date employment is increasing at a significantly faster rate (more than twice) than that experienced at the provincial level. The only negatives are a high (but slowly declining) unemployment rate, weak commercial and industrial building permit data, and looming inflationary concerns which could result in increases in borrowing rates beyond 2021.

EMPLOYMENT

  • Year-to date Employment in July was notably strongest within the Wholesale & Retail Trade, Accommodation Food services and agriculture. [Chart below]
  • Year to date employment was weakest within the information, culture and recreation sector, transportation and warehousing, and resource extraction sector [Chart below]
  • The average year-to-date unemployment rate moved from 9.1% in July 2020 to 7.7% in July 2021. Year-to-date, the average number of unemployed is down -1,386 to 11,357 from 12,743 In July 2020.
  • On the strength of strong residential construction activity, year-to-date July 2021 construction employment is up by 1,600 positions from the same period in 2020.

HOUSING

  • Spurred by low borrowing cost and high savings levels, July 2021, total year-to-date housing starts are up by 152 units or 50.5%. Year-to-date increases were observed in singles (69 units or 62.2%) and apartment and other types (83 units or 71.6%). Row and semi-detached we both even with 2020 levels.
  • On the strength of strong residential construction activity, year-to-date July 2021 construction employment is up by 1,600 positions from the same period in 2020.
  • July 2021 year to date building permits are up 5.1% over the same period in 2020. Sub sectors that posted increases were: residential (21.7%), institutional and governmental (62.1%). During the same time period, industrial (-41.3%) and commercial (-14.9%) posted declines.
  • The average year-to-date Housing Price Index Benchmark Composite Price is up from $242,014 in July 2020 to $259,686 in July 2021.

OUTLOOK

  • In 3 rapid rate cuts on March 4, March 13, and March 27 2020, the Bank of Canada cut its benchmark interest rate to 0.25. In its July 2021 economic outlook, the Bank indicated that it will keep the rate at near-zero until the economy is ready to handle an increase in rates, which it doesn’t expect to happen until the second half of 2022.
  • Regina Census Metropolitan Area population was up 2,319 or 0.9% from 260,865 in 2019 to 263,184 in 2020. Slowing population growth was due to travel restrictions and their impact on international in-migration and weaker than expected inter-provincial net migration.
  • The Conference Board of Canada estimated that Regina’s real GDP dropped by 3.8 % in 2020. Real GDP is expected to advance by 5% in 2021.

For reference:


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