Rock to Road

News
Construction worker seeks infrastructure package


April 9, 2009
By Andy Bateman

April 9, 2009 – Anyone with any
lingering doubts about the urgent need for a comprehensive national
infrastructure package will probably find the latest employment data
informative.   

The latest
employment figures show that construction employment has declined faster than
any other manufacturing sector in the last six months, with provincial figures
employment figures largely mirroring the fortunes of construction.  

 

Numbers released
today by Statistics Canada show that employment across the country declined
by 61,000 in March, all in full-time work. This decrease pushed the
unemployment rate up 0.3 percentage points to 8.0%, the highest
rate in seven years.

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Employment fell in
several provinces in March, with the largest declines in British
Columbia (-23,000), Alberta
(-15,000) and Ontario
(-11,000). Since October, these three provinces also had the fastest rate of
employment decreases.

March’s employment
losses were spread among core-aged men (25 to 54), youths
(15 to 24), and women 55 and over. Since the start of the
downturn in October, employment has fallen by 3.1% for core-aged men, the
largest five-month loss in 33 years.

 

Employment
declines were concentrated in the goods-producing sector in March, with large
losses in manufacturing, construction and natural resources.

 

Construction
employment declined in March by 18,000, the third notable decrease in four
months. In percentage terms, this industry had the fastest employment growth
from January to October 2008, and has since experienced the steepest
decline. Employment in this industry is down 99,000 (-7.9%) since
October 2008, led by losses in British Columbia,
Alberta and Ontario. These provinces also had the
largest drops in both housing starts and building permits in the most recent
year-over-year estimates.

 

For the second month in a row,
employment in natural resources declined, down 11,000 in March. This
was led by losses in Alberta,
mostly in mining, oil and gas extraction.