Productivity rises for the first time in two years
By Adam FreillConstruction Labour
Overall, labour productivity bumped forward across Canada in Q2; construction lagged the national average, however.
According to the latest StatCan data, labour productivity for Canadian businesses rose 0.2 per cent in the second quarter, following seven consecutive quarters of decline. This is the first increase in productivity since the second quarter of 2020, which was marked by the first lockdown measures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, business output rose faster than hours worked, resulting in growth in productivity in the second quarter. With this quarterly growth, productivity is now 1.3 per cent below the level observed in the fourth quarter of 2019, the last quarter before the start of the pandemic.
Overall, 11 of the 16 major industry sectors posted productivity gains, however the metric declined in the construction segment, falling just over one per cent.
With the lifting of public health measures in almost all regions of the country during the second quarter, businesses were able to carry out their economic activities without any pandemic-related restrictions, such as public capacity limits and mask requirements. As a result, second-quarter business output in most segments continued to grow at a steady pace, posting similar growth as in the first quarter.
Hours worked continued a slowdown that began in the first quarter, however hours worked are now 1.7 per cent above their level from the fourth quarter of 2019. The construction sector posted a 0.5 per cent increase in Q2 hours compared to Q1 of 2022.
Overall, hourly compensation rose in 14 of 16 industry sectors, including the construction sector, which saw increases in the 1.5 per cent range on the quarter.