Bricklayers prepare and lay brick and other masonry units to construct and repair structures such as walls, partitions, patios...
Whether it's homes and workplaces or the roads to reach them, the construction industry builds them. Construction workers erect complex petrochemical plants, rebuild cities and towns affected by floods or other natural disasters, or renovate a single bathroom. In Alberta, this industry is tied closely to oil and gas, electrical power generation, and housing.
Gross domestic product (GDP) measures the overall size of an economy. In 2015, construction made up 10.1% of Alberta's GDP. This represents a 0.5% decrease from 2013.
- construction, repair, or renovation of buildings, including residential housing, business or commercial buildings, and industrial complexes such as oil refineries or power plants
- design and construction of highways, bridges, dams, and pipelines
- subdivision and development of land
The construction industry employed 259,900 people in 2015. This is an increase of 15,900 jobs (6.5%) from 2013.
- 223,500 men worked in the industry in 2015 (up 9.0% from 2013).
- 36,400 women worked in the industry in 2015 (down 6.4% from 2013).
The average 2015 hourly wage of $32.13 for the construction industry was above the provincial average of $29.06.
Because construction is closely tied to Alberta's energy industry, the decline in oil prices caused the GDP of the construction industry to fall by 16.7% in 2015. Oil sands investment slowed and shifted toward maintaining existing facilities or completing projects already underway, causing industrial construction to drop by 17.0%. This led to a domino effect in residential housing construction, which dropped by 2.2% as Alberta residents put off buying newer or bigger homes.
BuildForce Canada, a national industry-led organization focused on construction, forecasts a steady decline in construction jobs until 2019. It notes, however, that in an Alberta industry where 14.1% of its workers are aged 55 or older, their retirement will mean a need for more workers.
Other positives to consider include the Alberta government's five-year, $34.8 billion plan for public infrastructure, including cost-sharing agreements with the federal government of almost $350 million under the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund.
The provincial government has also created the 2016 Petrochemicals Diversification Program, which is expected to eventually generate up to 3,000 construction jobs. As well, the non-profit research group Conference Board of Canada predicts that 0.4% of Alberta's 2.5% rise in GDP in 2017 will come from rebuilding Fort McMurray after wildfires destroyed 2,400 dwellings in 2016. Pipeline approval would also generate more jobs.
Industry Employment Trends
Employment in this industry is forecast to decrease at an average rate of 0.4% from 2016 to 2019.
OCCinfo has more information about occupations in Alberta, including details about duties, working conditions, educational requirements, employment outlook, and salary ranges. You can also find reports on region-specific information about wages, job vacancies, and hiring difficulties in this industry. Visit the Survey Analysis to learn more.