There are encouraging signs that Alberta’s economy may have hit bottom and is in early recovery.
Alberta Treasure Branch reports that investment in residential construction in the province was up by 4.1 per cent in July compared to June, on a seasonally adjusted basis. Although it remains well below where it was a year ago, it is the third consecutive monthly increase this year.
Multiple dwelling building construction was up 7.3 per cent in July. Single dwelling buildings were up 1.7 per cent.
ATB reports that residential investment is down on a year-over-year basis by 16.1 per cent. Total spending over the first seven months of 2019 was more than $2 billion below the same period in 2018 (down 23.5 per cent).
On the non-residential front, monthly investment was down 0.2 per cent in July compared to June and the year-over-year figure was down by 3.5 per cent. Total non-residential investment from January to July was $26.9 million below the same period last year (-0.5 per cent).
Industrial building construction was up 3.9 per cent, ATB reports, and both commercial and governmental construction were down by 0.8 per cent and 1.2 per cent, respectively.
Nationally, monthly residential building construction was up 0.6 per cent while non-residential rose 0.3 per cent.
Statistics Canada reports show that Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia have seen continued growth in investment for residential construction while Alberta has been in decline following the downturn in oil prices.
Construction trends are a key barometer of economic conditions. A healthy construction industry is a clear sign of a healthy economy.
The construction sector in Canada is valued at $92.3 billion US, and accounts for approximately seven percent of Canada’s GDP, according to Export.gov. The sector employs more than 1.4 million Canadians.