Construction Employment in February Up Over January, But Down Year-over-year

Mar 14, 2024 | Economic News and Forecasts

March 14, 2024 - Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey for February reports that, between January and February 2024, the economy added a total of 78,000 jobs. Unemployment at the end of February stood at 5.8%, slightly higher than January’s 5.7%. The employment rate (percentage of those aged 15 or older who are actually employed) was 61.5% in February, down from 61.6% in January. Population growth of 0.3% in February outpaced the month’s employment growth of 0.2%, leading to the decline in the employment rate.

Nationally, employment in construction grew by 0.7% in February. February 2024 construction employment rose the most in Alberta (up 5.0% or 12,000 jobs), followed by BC (+1.6% or 3,600 jobs), Quebec (+1.5% or 4,600 jobs) and Saskatchewan (+0.7% or 300 jobs). All other provinces were down, with Ontario being hardest hit – construction employment fell by 0.9% or 5,500 jobs.

However, comparing February 2024 with February 2023, construction employment fell by 0.6% - a decrease of 10,200 jobs. Alberta (+7.9% or 18,300 jobs) was the big winner in terms of the number of jobs, but New Brunswick outpaced them in terms of percentage gain (+17.7%, which translated to 5,300 jobs). Over all, five provinces (BC, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec) all lost jobs, with BC being the big loser – down 8.6% or 21,800 jobs.

In terms of wages and hours worked, construction is part of a larger group, “Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations, except managers”. This includes almost all apprenticeable trades. In February 2024, the average hourly wage rate for this group was $31.06, down from $31.58 in February 2023. Average weekly hours worked, however, ticked up slightly from 39.1 in February 2023 to 39.5 in February 24.

The full report is available here.

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