Construction sector contributes to national employment gains
By Adam FreillConstruction Labour
Moderate rise in construction employment offset by significant drop in available positions, pushing the job vacancy rate to 5.1 per cent.
Canada’s construction sector gained 4,000 workers in June, according to Statistics Canada’s latest Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours. The 0.3 per cent gain matched the overall percentage rise in the number of employees receiving pay and benefits from their employer as Canada’s payroll employees figure increased by 47,700 from May.
Construction gains were concentrated in specialty trade contractors, a segment that rose by 4,800 workers, which included 2,800 additional building equipment contractors. This industry recorded its fifth consecutive monthly payroll employment gain in June.
On the other side of even was residential building construction, which posed a small dip, losing 300 positions. There was little change in the non-residential building construction figures. On a year-over-year basis, June’s payroll employment was up in both residential building construction, with a gain of 3,700 positions, or 2.2 per cent, and non-residential building construction, which has added 3,400 workers, a rise of 2.8 per cent.
While employment was rising, the number of job vacancies remained on a downward trend in June, edging down by 1.2 per cent to 753,400 from May. Nationally, there has been a decrease in the number of vacancies of 108,500 since January, and a drop of almost 250,000 since a record high of just over 1 million vacancies was set in May of 2022. Job vacancies in June 2023 were at their lowest level since May of 2021.
The construction sector posted the third-largest monthly decline in vacancies in June, with 6,900 fewer opportunities than May, a drop of 10 per cent. On a year-over-year basis, unfilled positions were down in five of the six largest contributors to job vacancies, including a 24.5 per cent drop in the construction sector, which was down by more than 20,000 openings.
Overall, the job vacancy rate, which corresponds to the number of vacant positions as a proportion of total labour demand, was virtually unchanged from May, coming in at 4.2 per cent. The job vacancy rate has trended down since peaking at 5.7 per cent in March, April and May of 2022. The job vacancy rate in the construction sector came in at 5.1 per cent in June, down from 5.7 per cent in May and from 6.8 per cent in June of last year.
While job vacancies edged down in June 2023, the number of unemployed persons measured in the Labour Force Survey) increased by 54,100 in the month. As a result, there were 1.5 unemployed persons for every job vacancy, up from a ratio of 1.4 in April and May and from 1.3 in February and March, indicating that the labour market tightness has eased. Nevertheless, the unemployment-to-job vacancy ratio in June remained below its pre-COVID-19 pandemic level, which was typically above 2.0.