On-Site Magazine

August takes a nibble out of construction employment

By Adam Freill   

Construction Labour

Despite a two per cent drop in jobs, the construction sector added more than five per cent more employees over the past 12 months.

Job vacancies plateau as unemployment increases. (Source: Statistics Canada, Job Vacancy and Wage Survey (5217), table 14-10-0372-01 and custom tabulation.)

There were more people employed in Canada’s construction sector in August than a year earlier, despite a month-to-month dip from July, reports Statistics Canada. According to its latest report, payroll employment in construction declined by 21,900 from July but remained 54,900 positions ahead of August of 2021, a rise of more than five per cent.

Nationally, nine of the 10 industries within the sector recorded losses in August, led by foundation, structure and building exterior contractors who dropped 5,800 positions, and building equipment contractors, who were off by 3,700. Despite the monthly declines, all industries within the construction sector recorded year-over-year gains, with the largest growth observed in building equipment contractor segment, which was up by 12,800 positions, or 4.4 per cent.

Looking beyond construction, overall employment fell by 22,200 positions in August with declines in Quebec and Ontario eclipsing gains posted in British Columbia and Manitoba.

Wages continued to trend higher, though not quite as high as inflation. Average weekly earnings grew 3.2 per cent in August on a year-over-year basis, up slightly from July, but well off the year-over-year growth in the Consumer Price Index, which came in at seven per cent. Gains in the construction sector hit three per cent, reaching $1,424, on average, per week.


Job vacancies were little changed in August, with 958,500 openings, compared to the 964,000 in July. Vacancies are elevated relative to August 2021, however, when 919,200 were reported. Employers in the construction sector had more than 82,000 vacancies available to be filled in August.

The job vacancy rate, which corresponds to the number of vacant positions as a proportion of total labour demand, was 5.4 per cent in August, matching the July rate and little changed from August 2021.



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