18 Oct

6 Must-Know Construction Statistics

Posted by George Hoadley

Statistics Canada and other sources compile plenty of information about Canada’s economy, including different industries such as construction. Whether you’re knee-deep in the industry or you’re merely curious, you should bone up on your stats.

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1. Construction Is Huge

The construction industry is often used as a barometer for the Canadian economy at large. If construction is doing well and growing, so too must the economy be doing well. If construction is struggling, the economy will likely follow suit. 

Construction is also an important employer in Canada. The industry employs more than 1 million Canadians, a number which has been growing in the last two years. As the number of projects grows, so too does the number of skilled construction workers needed.


2. Record Building Permit Issues

In June 2017, Canadian municipalities recorded the second-highest ever value for building permits, issuing $8.1 billion worth of them that month alone. This statistic represents an increase of 2.5 percent over the previous month and bolsters strong quarterly performance, seeing a 10.4 percent increase over 2016. 

While rising values might point to higher costs to obtain permits, there’s another factor: more permits. Municipalities issued more building permits, and more construction companies had more construction intentions. More intentions translate into more projects, which in turn translate into more jobs.


3. More Multi-Family Units

While building permits are issued for virtually every project, from infrastructure like bridges to high-rise office buildings, it was multi-family dwelling projects driving the increase across Canada in the first half of 2017.

The rise in permits issued for multi-family dwellings was accompanied by a drop in the number of permits for single-family dwellings, reflecting a trend toward limiting urban sprawl and creating housing such as condominiums and townhouses, rather than single detached units.


4. Industrial Sector Growing

All construction areas reported gains in the second half of 2017, except institutional structures. Demand for housing has increased construction, and permits for residential dwellings definitely led the way.

However, non-dwelling construction is also booming. This is evidenced by the fact that municipalities issued $8.4 billion in non-housing building permits from June through August 2017. The industrial sector led the way, suggesting strong performance and investment from manufacturers and other players.


5. Machines Add to National Wealth

StatsCan also keeps tabs on the value of machinery and equipment in the construction sector. Why? Machinery and equipment add to the national wealth.

Imports of machinery rose during the second quarter of 2017, after dipping slightly in the first quarter. The increase in value of construction machinery and equipment in Canada points to a booming construction sector. Just like additional workers are needed when companies have more projects, they also need more equipment to undertake those projects!

As construction is on trend to continue growing through the last quarter of 2017 and into the foreseeable future, the value of machinery will likely grow along with it, providing an extra boost to Canada’s wealth.


6. A Housing Boom

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) keeps track of construction starts, projects underway, and the completion of residential units in Canada. While building permit issues provide insight into construction intentions, CMHC’s statistics put a concrete number on just how much construction is going on in the residential sector.

Housing starts have been steadily increasing, except for a slight dip in May 2017. July was the best month so far, with more than 16,000 new projects getting underway across the country. More than 205,000 housing projects were underway in July in addition to the nearly 143,000 projects that wrapped up the same month.

CMHC doesn’t track non-residential developments, so similar statistics aren’t on hand for those projects. Housing is the leading area of construction, however, and all areas are growing.

These statistics paint a portrait of a vibrant and growing industry in Canada. The future is bright for the construction industry.


Topics: Industry News

George Hoadley

George brings 11 years of experience in management to his role as the Branch Manager of Design Group Staffing in Vancouver. With a LinkedIn Recruiter Certification, his areas of expertise are construction management, engineering, project management, estimating, and operations. He has experience in both contact placement and direct recruitment for top Canadian and international firms. George’s unique and diverse background allows him to assist and provide superior service to companies and prospects alike. Monday to Friday, George is a boardroom warrior who leaves no stone unturned in hunting down the top talent in the Western Canadian construction and engineering markets. On the weekend, though, he trades his oxfords in for trail shoes and travels throughout Canada and the U.S. competing in the Spartan Race OCR series.

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