Construction jobs are expected to rise across Alberta by about 3 per cent this year as the province’s economy recovers from the Great Recession, according to a new report by the Alberta Department of Labour.
The province’s unemployment rate is set to remain low for another two years, the department said Monday.
The number of construction jobs in Alberta fell by about 15,000 in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2015.
The job loss in construction is likely a result of the construction industry recovering from the economic downturn, but the department has not released the number of jobs that have been lost in that sector.
Alberta’s economy has been slowly growing since the Great Depression, but job losses are expected this year to be higher than the 1,500 construction jobs lost in the recession, said Dave Loughney, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.
“We’re going to see a large number of job losses this year, and it will be a significant amount,” he said.
“It’s likely to be between 100 and 200 jobs per month.
So the number we’ve seen for the first part of this recession is a relatively small number of positions.”
The Alberta Construction Association said the job losses will not be as dramatic as they were in the mid-2000s.
“For the majority of workers, they will be doing the same jobs.
The numbers are going to be much lower.
They’re just going to have to do a lot more to find work.”
Construction employment peaked at more than 200,000 jobs in 2006, but by 2012 that had fallen to about 120,000.
Loughney said there are other factors behind the job loss.
Alberta is still recovering from a severe recession, which saw the provincial unemployment rate increase to 9.6 per cent in September 2016, and the province also experienced the largest peacetime jobless rate in Canada since 2009.
“You had a very severe recession with a lot of people who didn’t find jobs, and then we got the Great Jobless Recovery, which basically allowed businesses to start hiring again, and we’re seeing that in Alberta,” he told CBC News.
“This recession has been one of the biggest challenges to the recovery in Alberta.”
The province also has more people working in the construction sector than ever before.
More than 40 per cent of Alberta’s workforce are employed in construction, up from 34 per cent three years ago.