Ontario records 3rd-highest ICI investment and lowest unemployment since pandemic hit

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The latest labour force data from Statistics Canada released last week shows Ontario’s general, seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell to 7.3 per cent in September, its lowest point since the pandemic began. The previous low points for Ontario’s unemployment rate were March 2020 (7.4%) and March 2021 (7.5%). The high point during the pandemic period was 13.6% in May 2020. In the month prior to the pandemic (Feb 2020), Ontario’s unemployment rate was 5.5%.

In Ontario’s construction industry specifically, employment fell by less than a tenth of a percent to 534,200 – about 500 jobs. Essentially, construction employment in Ontario was unchanged between August and September with totals in these two months the highest in Ontario since April.

While the seasonally adjusted data showed construction employment in Ontario unchanged, the unadjusted data, which includes total labour force numbers, reveals an increase in the construction labour force combined with a decline in employment. Between August and September the construction unemployment rate increased from 2.7% to 4.1%.

Statistics Canada also released new Investment in Building Construction data, which showed ICI investment in Ontario surpassed 1.98 billion in August. This was the third highest seasonally-adjusted monthly total on record for the province (the previous highs were in June 2020 and May 2021). Industrial investment in Ontario increased by 1.2% month-over-month in August. Commercial investment fell by 0.5%. Institutional investment in the province rose by 4.3%, the sector’s eighth consecutive month-over-month increase. August’s institutional investment total was the highest in Ontario since June 2018.

Year-to-date (January-August) ICI investment in Ontario was up by 3.6% compared to last year. Over the summer months (May-August), however, ICI investment in the province was about even with the same period in 2020 (+0.2%). Industrial investment was also up by 0.2% in the May-August period compared to last year, while institutional investment in Ontario was up by 5.3%. Commercial investment in the May-August period was down by 1.6% compared to 2020, although looking at the year-to-date (January-August), commercial investment is up by 6.6%.

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