In: ConstructionNews

A recent economic report by the Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS) revealed that a decrease in employment and an increase in the labour force pushed the unemployment rate up in February.

According to the report, permit value increased incrementally from December to January but was lower compared to most of last year and down from January 2023.

From January to February, employment decreased from 556.3 thousand to 554.7 thousand, according to the report, while the labour force increased from 591.4 thousand to 594.3 thousand.

According to the OCS, this pushed the unemployment rate up to 6.7 per cent. This rate is higher than the last two years, however, it is lower than the pre-pandemic rate of 8.2 per cent from Feb 2019.

Additionally, while construction employment was down 2.2 per cent from a year ago, it was higher than it was in any February prior.

According to the report, from December to January, total ICI permit value increased 7.5 per cent from $1.27 billion to $1.36 billion. The OCS noted that this was driven by increases in the commercial and industrial sectors.

Permit value in the commercial sector rebounded 11.2 per cent following four consecutive months of declines. Industrial permit value increased 16.5 per cent from $419.4 million to $488.8 million. Institutional sector permit value decreased 16.1 per cent from $253.3 million to a relatively low value of $212.5 million.

According to the report, year-over-year change in permit value was overall negative as total ICI permit value was down 3 per cent compared to January 2023.

Commercial permit value was down 20.4 per cent and institutional permit value was down 21.2 per cent. The industrial sector however was still quite strong compared to last year with a 61.1 per cent year-over-year increase from January 2023.

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