Construction employment rebounds in December

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Following a decrease in November, the number of people working in construction rose by 35,000 (+2.3%) in December. Increases were observed in four provinces, led by Ontario (+16,000; +2.7%) and Alberta (+13,000; +5.8%).

According to the latest Statistics Canada data, investment in building construction had edged up 0.2% nationally in October , with Ontario accounting for nearly all the gains. On a year-over-year basis, employment in construction was up by 84,000 (+5.8%) in December.

Overall, employment rose by 104,000 (+0.5%) in December and the unemployment rate declined 0.1 percentage points to 5.0%, just above the record low of 4.9% reached in June and July.

stats can construction employment decembrer2022Stats Can says employment growth was led by an increase among youth aged 15 to 24, recouping cumulative losses observed for this group from July to September.

The number of employees increased in the private sector, while it held steady in the public sector. There were broad-based employment gains across several industries, including construction, as well as transportation and warehousing, with gains reported in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saskatchewan in December. There was little change in the other provinces.

Year-over-year growth in the average hourly wages of employees remained above 5% for a seventh consecutive month in December, up 5.1% (+$1.57 to $32.06) compared with December 2021 (not seasonally adjusted).

Employment rose by 104,000 (+0.5%) in December. Employment had previously peaked in May 2022, followed by a downward trend to August. As a result of cumulative gains since then, employment in December was 130,000 (+0.7%) above its May level.

Following three monthly increases, employment among people in the core working ages of 25 to 54 was little changed in December. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment was up among both core-aged men (+107,000; +1.6%) and core-aged women (+139,000; +2.3%).

In the context of elevated cases of influenza and other respiratory viruses in many parts of the country, 8.1% of employees were absent due to illness or disability during the reference week (Dec. 4 to 10), up from 6.8% in November. This was higher than the pre-pandemic average of 6.9% for the month of December from 2017 to 2019, but below the record high of 10.0% set in January 2022, when the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was spreading across Canada (not seasonally adjusted).

Among people aged 55 and older, the unemployment rate among men increased 0.4 percentage points to 4.6% in December, while the rate among women was little changed. For both men and women in this group, the unemployment rate declined markedly in the first six months of 2022 and ended the year down 2.1 percentage points compared with December 2021.

Employment increased in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saskatchewan in December. There was little change in the other provinces. For further information on key province and industry level labour market indicators, see “Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app.”


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