Construction sector drops 23,000 jobs in June

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Construction job losses in June have set the industry’s labour market back to its position at the start of 2021, a Statistics Canada report concluded.

The latest Labour Force Survey was released July 9, reporting a 23,400-job decline in the construction industry last month, a 1.6 per cent seasonally adjusted drop. It was the third-straight month of jobs losses in construction after increases at the beginning of 2021.

Stats Can says Alberta and British Columbia reported most of the decline, leaving employment levels currently about 78,000 jobs below the pre-COVID levels.

Statistics Canada also reported the overall economy added 230,700 jobs in June as pandemic restrictions were rolled back across the country. The gain came as the number of part-time positions rose 263,900, bringing it basically back to pre-pandemic levels, while the number of full-time jobs fell 33,200.

Part-time gains were driven by jumps in jobs in the hard-hit retail and food services sectors and concentrated among youth.

The 101,000 jobs increase in the accommodation and food services sector was the largest increase since last July, with Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia accounting for most of the increase, while Ontario grew slower on account of restrictions on indoor dining.

More people also went looking for work in June, after giving up on the job hunt in May, as the total size of the labour force increased by 170,000 in June.

The unemployment rate fell to 7.8 per cent for the month compared with 8.2 per cent in May, which the statistics agency says was the lowest of the pandemic since the 7.5 per cent recorded in March.

CIBC senior economist Royce Mendes says the overall increase in June shot past the best of market expectations, which could also mean gains in the coming months may be more modest than massive.

June employment data (numbers from the previous month in brackets):

  • Unemployment rate: 7.8 per cent (8.2)
  • Employment rate: 60.1 per cent (59.4)
  • Participation rate: 65.2 per cent (64.6)
  • Number unemployed: 1,591,600 (1,652,300)
  • Number working: 18,789,900 (18,559,200)
  • Youth (15-24 years) unemployment rate: 13.6 per cent (15.9)
  • Men (25 plus) unemployment rate: 7.2 per cent (6.9)
  • Women (25 plus) unemployment rate: 6.5 per cent (7.0)

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