The economy in 2021 should be like winter jogging, to use the expression of host Mario Dumont. Even if “there is a risk of picking up patches of ice and running into the slush”, the indicators show that the recovery is well and truly underway in Quebec.
“The Quebec economy has returned to 97% of the employment level of last February. The Quebec City region performs even better because of the structure of its economy, ”said Pierre Cléroux, chief economist at the Bank of Canada, who yesterday participated in a panel of experts on trends and issues for the national capital, organized by the Quebec Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The crisis “hurt”
The manufacturing and construction sectors have returned to their pre-pandemic levels. Others, such as restaurants and tourism, will have to wait a while longer.
According to the latest statistics, the unemployment rate contracted in the Quebec City region, going from 11.9% in June to 4.1% in December, before the current measures were tightened.
“The health crisis has hurt. We have seen a drop of almost 7% of GDP, ”added Jean-Pierre Lessard, economist and partner at Aviseo Conseil.
COVID has lost nearly 35,000 jobs in the Quebec region, continues Mr. Lessard.
“We have a recovery that has started well. People who are in very technological and digital sectors, things are going well, but for people who have a little less education in more traditional sectors, it will be more difficult, ”said Mr. Lessard.
With more limited spending opportunities, Canadians saved $ 189 billion last year, notes Mr. Cléroux, which is unprecedented.
“When the majority of Quebecers will be vaccinated and we can reduce the restrictions on food, accommodation and travel, we will see these sectors, which have been severely affected, return fairly quickly,” said Mr. Cléroux.
Catherine Privé, President and CEO of Alia Conseil, believes that teleworking represents a “major trend” for the coming years.
“People are going to be more suburban in my opinion,” she said.
This does not prevent Jean-Pierre Lessard from seeing an increase in traffic in the Quebec City region, he who considers the 2026 horizon much too far for the inauguration of the tram.
“I find it unfair that we have locked the budget, whereas for any other infrastructure, budgets can go up. […] Perfect projects are very rare. They can always be improved, but everyone needs to get into solutions mode, ”he urges.