Regional construction job numbers slip in August

Construction employment in the Lower Mainland-Southwest region decreased in August, according to Vancouver Regional Construction Association’s (VRCA) analysis of today’s Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada. August saw 114,200 persons working in construction in the Lower Mainland-Southwest region, down 0.9 per cent or 1,000 working persons from 115,200 in July 2010. This is down 4.7 per cent from the figures reported for August 2009.

“The August regional construction employment numbers came in below our expectations,” says Keith Sashaw, president of the Vancouver Regional Construction Association. “August was the first monthly decline since January 2010 and was contrary to the normal seasonal pattern.”

“The 2010 regional construction employment forecast needs to be revised in light of August’s weak performance,” says Sashaw. “It is becoming increasingly apparent that the region’s employment will likely decline for a second straight year.”

“The economic recovery is still fragile and construction companies are responding to the vagaries of the market,” says Sashaw. “While there is still uncertainty we can expect to see volatility in hiring patterns.”

In Metro Vancouver, construction employment decreased 1.3 per cent in August 2010 from July to an estimated 92,100 persons working in the industry. This is down 12.7 per cent, or 13,400 persons, from the figures reported for August 2009.

“Abbotsford’s impressive gains this year are beginning to unwind with two consecutive monthly declines,” says Sashaw. “The year over-year comparisons remain impressive though.”

Abbotsford construction employment fell 4.7 per cent in August, down 500 persons from July. Year-over-year employment in the Abbotsford area is up 32.5 per cent.

Province wide, seasonally adjusted construction employment levels declined 2.5 per cent in August to 189,300. Compared with August 2009, the number of people employed in B.C. construction was down 2.3 per cent, or 4,800 persons.

Private non-residential building construction does not offer much upside for construction employment in 2010, says VRCA. Public sector construction has more upside potential since more government stimulus funds have to be spent and should peak in 2010 before fading in 2011.

James Chung

Vancouver Lifestyle, Cool Tech & Travel Adventure. Email: [email protected]

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