On-Site Magazine

Construction ranks on the rise

By Adam Freill   

Construction Labour

Despite falling from a summertime peak, Canada’s construction sector hit almost 1.17 million workers in December, a gain of just under one per cent in 12 months.

Declines in the number of job vacancies since December 2022 have been broad-based. (Source: Statistics Canada, Job Vacancy and Wage Survey (5217), table 14-10-0406-01.)

Construction payroll employment increased for second consecutive month in December, reports Statistics Canada in its latest Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours.

The number of employees receiving pay and benefits from an employer in the construction sector rose by 2,700, or 0.2 per cent, to reach 1,169,800. This followed an increase of 1,200 positions in November. Despite these increases, payroll employment in construction was down by 8,300, or 0.7 per cent, in December from the employment peak that was recorded in July, but the fall-off from the from the summer was not enough to erode the year-over-year gains that have employment in the sector up by 8,700 positions over December of 2022.

Within the sector, specialty trade contractors were the biggest gainers, adding 3,700 more positions this past December. Within that subsector, there were 1,600 more building equipment contractors; 1,200 more workers in the “other specialty trade contractors” category, which includes those engaged in site preparation activities and other specialized trade activities such as crane rental with operator, and an additional 1,000 foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors. These gains were partially offset by declines in heavy and civil engineering construction, which had 1,200 fewer workers.

Payroll employment in construction of buildings, including non-residential and residential building construction, held steady in December.


Across all sectors of the economy, the number of employees receiving pay and benefits from their employer increased by 31,600 positions in December, a gain of 0.2 per cent. On a year-over-year basis, payroll employment was up by 223,500 positions, or 1.3 per cent.

Overall job vacancies held steady at 637,400 in December, the third consecutive month of little change. Job vacancies were down by 209,200 positions, or roughly 25 per cent, compared with December 2022, and down by 365,900 from the record high of 1,003,200 reached in May 2022.

Total labour demand, which corresponds to the sum of filled and unfilled positions, declined by 0.4 per cent in December 2023 compared with the previous month, and was little changed from December 2022.

The job vacancy rate—which corresponds to the number of vacant positions as a proportion of total labour demand—was little changed at 3.6 per cent.




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