Further job losses before Alberta’s construction industry recovers | BuildForce Canada

Further job losses before Alberta’s construction industry recovers

Ottawa – As major projects wind down and the impact of lower oil prices persist, Alberta’s construction industry will shrink by up to 5,200 jobs through to 2019. The most significant workforce reductions are now behind it, however, according to the latest labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

“With signs of a broader recovery ahead, labour markets are shifting and new job opportunities are opening up,” said Bill Ferreira, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “Job growth in new home and renovation work and seasonal shutdown/turnaround and maintenance work is expected to help offset some short-term employment losses.”

BuildForce Canada’s 2018–2027 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast reflects the impact of continued oil price uncertainty, with no new major projects scheduled. As existing projects wind down, engineering construction employment declines. Non-residential construction growth should resume in 2019 and again in 2024 with a renewal in oil and gas investment. Alberta’s non-residential construction market will continue to diversify, as commercial and institutional building construction is expected to recover this year and rise steadily over the decade. This should drive moderate employment growth next year and over the medium term, along with the steady recovery in new home construction and the continued rise in renovation work. In the short term, higher than normal levels of planned industrial-sector maintenance and shutdown work will require thousands of specialized tradespeople and may create recruitment challenges during peak demand periods this spring and fall. Total construction employment is expected to decline this year, before broader growth resumes later in the scenario period, adding 8,300 jobs by 2027.

BuildForce Canada’s forecast also shows:

  • Growth in new residential and renovation work should add 4,500 jobs (6 percent increase), restoring residential construction employment to 2014 levels by 2021.
  • As oil sands construction recovers, up to 2,500 jobs should be restored by the end of 2027.
  • As many as 40,000 workers, or 19 percent of the workforce, is expected to retire over the next 10 years.

“The need to replace the province’s aging construction workforce is a constant,” added Ferreira. “This requires proactive planning and steady recruitment and training throughout construction’s up- and down-cycles.”

BuildForce Canada is a national industry-led organization that represents all sectors of Canada’s construction industry. Its mandate is to provide accurate and timely labour market data and analysis, as well as programs and initiatives to help manage workforce requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance workforce. Visit www.constructionforecasts.ca.

For further information, contact Bill Ferreira, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada at Ferreira@buildforce.ca or (613)-569-5552 ext. 222.

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program