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Construction employment remains strong on the Prairies

Manitoba leads the region in sector's job growth
Manitoba construction jobs (seasonally adjusted) increased 10 per cent versus a year ago, partially offsetting losses elsewhere in Western Canada.

Seasonally adjusted figures show construction employment in Manitoba rose year-on-year and held steady in Saskatchewan as the Prairie provinces continue to enjoy the effects of a commodities and resources boom.

Manitoba report 56,000 construction jobs in September, up 10 per cent from a year earlier. Saskatchewan held even at 42,700 jobs.

The strong performance was in marked contrast to the rest of Western Canada, where construction sector employment declined over the past year.

Alberta reported a two per cent drop in construction sector employment to 230,600 people, while B.C., which is entering a slower phase as major projects end, reported a seven per cent decline to 222,900.

Capital plans in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan represent billions in new investment, notwithstanding the winding down of work on projects such as the Keeyask dam in Manitoba. Growth in the industrial,

commercial, and institutional (ICI) sector, where investment is currently projected by BuildForce Canada as exceeding $2 billion, is supporting sector employment.

The province’s $3.7 billion capital plan in Saskatchewan, as well record investments in the forest sector and canola plants, are supporting employment in that province.

BuildForce Canada says the ongoing lack of skilled workers continues to be a challenge on the Prairies.

“Manitoba’s construction industry will need to recruit about 8,600 additional workers over the forecast period to keep pace with labour force growth and to replace an estimated 7,600 retiring workers,” it said in its most recent review of the province’s labour market, released earlier this year.