Thursday, February 06, 2020 - 12:15 PM

Economic Review 2019

foreground of a close up of a woman looking through binoculars facing forward with St. John's harbourfront in the background

The St. John’s Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) economy saw improved performance in several economic indicators in 2019. Economic growth, as measured by real gross domestic product (GDP), is estimated to have increased by 5.4% to $18.0 billion in 2019.

“The labour market and household income posted positive growth,” says Mayor Breen, Lead for Economic Development, “however, economic slowdown is evident in housing starts which declined 24.1% to 480 units, and modest retail sales growth of 0.6%.”  

In 2019, the labour force increased by 2.9% to 124,500, while the unemployment rate decreased by 0.9 percentage points to 7.5%. This was the St. John’s CMA’s lowest recorded unemployment rate since 2015.
Household income increased by 4.1%, to $11.2 billion driven by gains in wages and salaries.

The population of the St. John’s CMA was estimated to be 212,300 as of July 1, 2019, a 0.1% decrease from the previous year.

Outlook for 2020

“The outlook for 2020 is expected to be subdued,” said Mayor Danny Breen. “Although economic gains are expected from higher oil production, other indicators such as employment, household income and housing starts may soften as the economy continues to adjust to lower Muskrat Falls activity”. 

Read the Economic Review 2019 at


The St. John’s Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) is a Statistics Canada geographically defined area including St. John’s and neighbouring communities. Data prepared by Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Department of Finance (Economic Research and Analysis Division) and the City of St. John's (Economic Development, Culture and Partnerships Division), February 2020.

The Economic Development, Culture and Partnerships Division provides a variety of economic and statistical information, including an Economic Review/Outlook twice a year in addition to a monthly Economic Update. These reports and additional data can be found at