Construction employment dips as general employment rises
By Adam FreillConstruction Labour
Construction sector has more than 71,000 job openings and rising wages but still lost 7,600 workers in January.
Despite a patch of weakness in construction employment in January, the overall number of workers gainfully employed in Canada rose by 71,100, reports Statistics Canada in its latest Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours. That came on the heels of a jump of 53,700 additional workers in December. Overall payroll employment has generally trended upwards over the previous five months, resulting in cumulative gains of 275,400, or 1.6 per cent, from September 2022 to January 2023.
Payroll employment in the construction sector dipped a little less than one per cent for the month, however, losing 7,600 workers, including 2,700 in the non-residential segment and 2,100 building equipment contractors.
On a year-over-year basis, average weekly earnings grew almost three per cent, to $1,185, in January. Year over year, average weekly earnings in the goods-producing sector increased by 5.8 per cent in January, including a jump of 6.4 per cent in construction, which saw average weekly earnings hit $1,497.
Overall, there were 883,200 job vacancies across all sectors in January, an increase of 3.4 per cent from December. The monthly increase in January follows a general downward trend from June to December 2022. Compared with the peak reached in May 2022, job vacancies were down 12 per cent, or 120,000 positions, in January 2023.
Vacancies did hold steady in 11 sectors, including three sectors that account for nearly one-third of all job vacancies: accommodation and food services (118,900), retail trade (99,100) and construction (71,100).
The job vacancy rate was little changed from December 2022, as was the unemployment rate, which held steady at five per cent in January and February.
There was an average of 1.2 unemployed persons for every job vacancy in January 2023. This ratio has remained virtually unchanged since August 2022. According to the Labour Force Survey, the unemployment rate held steady at 5.0% in January and February 2023.