Construction jobs in Alberta Canada
After a decade of explosive growth, Alberta’s construction industry is poised for three years of job losses as plunging oil prices force energy companies to cancel or delay new projects.
The number of construction jobs in the oil sands could fall by 15 per cent or more, construction industry association BuildForce said in a new forecast Monday.
Most of the job losses will come in engineering employment tied to the oil and gas sector, although they will spread to residential construction as the province heads into a housing downturn. Construction hiring won’t start to rebound in Alberta until 2018 and will grow by just 6 per cent over the next decade, the association said.
The employment picture is much bleaker than initially expected. Last year, BuildForce predicted Alberta construction jobs would grow by 22 per cent over the following 10 years and the organization delayed releasing its forecast this year while it redid its projections to account for the dramatic slide in oil prices.
Alberta has led the country in construction job creation for more than a decade, with employment more than doubling since 1997 on the strength of the booming oil and gas sector. But it has already experienced steep job losses this year. Employment fell by 14, 000 jobs in February, Statistics Canada said last week, the worst monthly drop since the 2009 recession.
The worst is yet to come. Construction unemployment is expected to peak next year before starting to recover toward the end of 2017, BuildForce said. It will represent the greatest fall in the province’s employment growth in more than 20 years, BuildForce said.