REGINA – A December report generated for the Saskatchewan Construction Association shows the provincial labour market was stagnant in 2017 with employment dropping 0.2 per cent.
The report, prepared by the Sask Trends Monitor, states this is the second year in a row for declines in overall employment, with construction one of the sectors that was a contributing factor.
Counting heavy construction and both the residential and non-residential building sectors, employment in December was 48,100 which is 1.6 per cent lower than a year ago.
This weakness, the Sask Trends Monitor stated, is in contrast to the “relatively strong employment growth over the summer and brings the average employment for 2017 to 50,700.” This is down 1.1 per cent from 2016.
The December decline was mainly in the heavy and engineering construction sector.
- Compared to December 2016 employment was:
- down four per cent in residential and non-residential building construction;
- down nine per cent in heavy and engineering construction; and
up one per cent in trade contracting firms.
Regionally, the report notes, the slowdown in construction employment late in 2017 is mainly because of weak employment figures in Saskatoon (-10 per cent).
When it comes to wages, following three consecutive years of increases that were well above the rate of inflation, the average wage rates in the construction industry declined this year as the demand for workers slowed.
In December, the average hourly wage rate among paid workers in construction was $29.25, the report highlighted. This is 2.3 per cent higher than in December 2016 and brings the year-to-date decline to 2.2 per cent because of declines earlier in the year.
“With inflation in the one per cent to two per cent range this year, this decline will translate into a significant loss in the purchasing power of the wage for the average construction worker,” the report reads.