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Economic News

Quebec's Unemployment Rate Jumps to 5.2%

December 1, 2023
Florence Jean-Jacobs
Principal Economist


  • Employment was largely unchanged (-1,500) in Quebec in November after declining by 22,100 in October.
  • The unemployment rate ticked up 0.3 percentage points to 5.2%, its highest level since October 2021.
  • The labour force grew by 15,300, nudging the jobless rate higher and pushing the labour force participation rate up a tenth of a point to 65.2%.
  • Annual average hourly wage growth slowed to just 3.2% from 4.0% in October.
  • Hours worked edged up slightly (0.3% year-over-year).
  • Part-time employment fell by 9,500, while full-time employment rose by 8,000. But so far this year, full-time employment is down 7,800.


Quebec’s labour market is slowing, as we can see from wages and hours worked. (See graph.)

Wholesale and retail trade, which are sensitive to pullbacks in consumer discretionary spending, shed 8,600 jobs. (See table.)

Construction employment fell 1,600 in November after three months of job gains. Manufacturing employment was flat (+600) for the month but down 12,000 for the year.

The number of self-employed workers dropped sharply (-23,900), continuing the overall trend we’ve seen since the start of the year.


Quebec's unemployment rate is up 1.3 percentage points from January’s record low of 3.9%, and demand for workers has cooled significantly this year.

The province’s GDP contracted 0.4% in August after falling 2% in the second quarter. Unless the economy roared back in September, it will likely post a second consecutive quarterly decline. The GDP data released earlier this week along with today’s weak jobs report paint the picture of an economy going through a rough patch—and one we expect to stretch into 2024.