indicatorThe Owl

Construction spending down in April

On a seasonally adjusted basis, monthly investment in building construction in Alberta was down 19.5 per cent in April compared to February

By 23 June 2020 1 min read

After an already weak year in 2019, Alberta’s construction sector has been hit hard by COVID-19 and the oil price crash.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, monthly investment in building construction* in Alberta was down $328.4 million (-19.5 per cent) in April compared to February.

Nationally, investment fell by $7.6 billion (-47.9 per cent) over the same period. The difference is explained by more stringent pandemic-related restrictions on construction activity in other parts of the country, especially in Quebec and Ontario.

Residential construction in Alberta was down by $310.3 million (-30.8 per cent) in April compared to February.

The decline was less pronounced on the non-residential front with investment down by $18.1 million (-2.7 per cent) over the same period.

Taking a longer view, we see that the drop-off in activity during the pandemic exacerbated a pullback that took place in 2019.

Between 2018 and 2019, annual investment in building construction in Alberta fell by $2.5 billion (-10.8 per cent). Over the same period, spending in the country as a whole increased by $5.3 billion (+3.0 per cent).

In this sense, Alberta’s construction sector had a shorter distance to fall during the pandemic than the national sector. It also suggests that, even if we catch up to where we were before the COVID-19 shock, we will still have a ways to go before the full vigour of Alberta’s construction sector is restored.

*The investment in residential and non-residential building construction represents the spending value of building construction by households, enterprises and governments for buildings, excluding the value of land.

The drop-off in activity during the pandemic exacerbated a pullback that took place in 2019

Monthly investment in building construction in Alberta was down $328.4 million in April 2020 compared to February 2020


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