For a few months now, the city’s economy has been gaining momentum and that fact has been confirmed in the most recent numbers released by Statistics Canada. In 2016, the city accounted for 83% of new jobs created in Québec—and 77% of those jobs were full time. In all, 41,400 full-time jobs were added to Montréal’s job market. The unemployment rate in Greater Montréal reached 7.8% in 2016, which has been the lowest since 2008. There was even further improvement in January 2017 when the unemployment rate went down to 6.4%.
As Greater Montréal accounts for about half the Québec population and half the economy, it’s safe to say that the city is doing more than its share to drive the Québec economy.
What’s most notable about this recent economic spike in the city is the quality of the jobs being created. A good number of these full-time jobs created in 2016 are in leading-edge industries and often well paid. Artificial intelligence, video games, visual effects and IT services are sectors that have clearly posted outstanding employment growth rates. Overall, in 2016 the broad information and communications technologies (ICT) family had a healthy 4% increase in job levels (over 4,500 jobs).
The weight of Greater Montréal in Québec
In 2016, Montréal International (MI) noticed foreign subsidiaries were keen to choose Greater Montréal for expansion. These subsidiaries were in leading-edge industries such as artificial intelligence, visual effects, animation, video games and ICT in general. Artificial intelligence is currently experiencing explosive growth in Greater Montréal and attracting giants like Google and Microsoft that want to become a part of the dynamic ecosystem and collaborate with its skilled researchers. Brad Smith, President of Microsoft stated: “Microsoft is very excited about the idea of collaborating with professors, students and the extensive tech community in Montréal. The city is fast becoming a global hub for research and innovation in AI.”
In 2016, MI had a record year in terms of foreign investments. The results will be announced at the annual general meeting in April 2017. Some of the strategic investment projects that MI supported in the past few months include Cinesite, ON Entertainment and CyberConnect2, which have created many jobs in the visual effects, animation and video games industries at which Montréal excels. In addition, major foreign subsidiary expansion projects were completed, such as Ericsson, which opened its third 20,000-m2 global ICT centre in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Québec. Many new jobs were created in 2016 as a result of these foreign subsidiaries in leading-edge sectors. They are a definite asset to Greater Montréal’s economy.