OCS Economic Update – Mar. 16, 2021
The latest Labour Force Survey data from Statistics Canada has shown that construction employment in Ontario has remained stable through the first two months of 2021. Ontario’s construction industry employed 532,900 workers in February, down by less than half a percent (-0.46%) compared to January, and down by 1.24% compared to December. This demonstrates that employment in the construction industry has seen little impact from the workplace restrictions that went into effect in Ontario on January 14th. As discussed in a previous OCS bulletin, there was some uncertainty as to whether the January employment data captured the effect of the January 14th restrictions.
Looking at employment in Ontario in general, the province’s unemployment rate fell from 10.2 in January to 9.2 in February. This is the same level of unemployment that Ontario recorded in November.
Statistics Canada has also released new Investment in Building Construction data, which has shown that investment in ICI construction between September and January was exceptionally stable relative to earlier months of 2020. All of the month-over-month changes between these months were less than +/-2%. ICI investment in January 2021 amounted to $1.87 billion, only slightly more than December, but the highest Ontario has seen since August regardless.
Overall, ICI investment in January 2021 was only slightly less than in January 2020 (-1.5%). At the sector level, the differences between these two months are more substantial. Commercial investment in January 2021 was 3.7% greater than in January 2020. Institutional investment in Ontario in January 2021 was 4.8% less than in January 2020, while industrial investment was down by 12.6%.