This is a post from Alex Carrick's blog that covers the Canadian construction industry.

Since 1985, Mr. Carrick has held the position of Canadian Chief Economist with Reed Construction Data's CanaData, the leading supplier of statistics and forecasting information for the Canadian construction industry.

Go to Alex Carrick's blog home

Construction Industry Forecasts

Notes from Alex Carrick - Sep 09, 2009

Alex Carrick
CanaData’s Construction Starts Statistics are -49% in Square Feet through August

The pattern of construction starts in Canada in August 2009 was a continuation of what it has been throughout most of this year. The trend graph (click here for link) clearly points out what has been happening in the market-place. Non-residential building starts, which are mainly privately-financed, are experiencing a long slide that began early in 2008. Engineering starts, which are mainly publicly-funded, have been moving upward since the midway point of last year, although they appear to have leveled off over the past several months.

The foregoing is not to take away from the strength in public-sponsored work. In CanaData’s Top 10 starts lists each month, 45 of the biggest construction projects out of the last 50, going back to April, have been either institutional or civil projects. Once again in August, almost all (9 out of 10) of the largest starts were in those two categories. The civil work is mainly roads, bridges and water-treatment related and the institutional work, so far, has been primarily of an educational nature – new facilities at academies of higher learning.

Year-to-date starts overall are -49% in square feet and -36% in dollars. These numbers slightly overstate the non-residential decline, since residential work is down by half. Commercial starts are -54% in square feet and -49% in dollars, while industrial is an alarming, but not surprising, -84% in square feet and -88% in dollars. Industrial work has been under assault on many fronts, from weak North American auto demand and falling Canadian home starts, through a Canadian dollar that is moving upward versus the U.S. greenback.

By comparison with commercial and industrial starts, institutional work is hanging in fairly solidly. This is due to government stimulus money starting to have an effect. Institutional starts are -20% in square feet and -10% in dollars. Engineering work, which is only measured in dollars, is -24% this year to date versus January to August of last year. The public spending is coming at a time when tax revenues are being curtailed by the recession. This is already creating problems for some provincial treasurers.

Alex Carrick

Find Canadian construction-related economic articles in Canadian Construction Market News and in the Economic Outlook section of Daily Commercial News. Mr. Carrick also has a lifestyle blog that can be reached by clicking here.


RSS Feed

» back to blog home

Member Comments

Post Your Own Comments 
» Not a member? Register now to become one. Otherwise, login to post your comments on this article.

Read Other Recent Alex Carrick Posts

10/12 - Latest Economic Nuggets: Mid-October 2012
10/04 - Auto Sales Set a Blistering Pace in the U.S. and Canada
09/18 - Canada’s Energy Future is Assured, Right? Think Again
09/14 - Latest Economic Nuggets: Mid-September 2012
09/06 - Auto Sector Labor Relations will Play a Role in Construction Outlook
08/30 - Raucous Behavior in the Party Room Next Door
08/13 - Latest Economic Nuggets: Mid-August 2012
07/31 - Canada’s GDP Advanced a Timid 0.1% in May but Support Will Come from Better U.S. Home Prices
07/19 - Finding the Pearls in the Latest U.S. and Canadian Economic News
07/13 - Latest Economic Nuggets: Mid-July 2012
07/04 - U.S. Auto Sales Continue Bullish While Canadian Incomes Languish
06/28 - Three Pivot Points for the World Economy - U.S. Housing, Europe’s Conundrum and Oil Prices
06/14 - Economic Nuggets – June 15, 2012
06/06 - Canada’s First Quarter GDP Growth Met Expectations, But What Comes Next?
05/30 - Ontario has a Backbone of Strength for the Decade Ahead
05/14 - Economic Nuggets - May 15, 2012
05/11 - Canada Rode a Second Consecutive Month of Strong Job Gains in April
05/04 - U.S. Employment Rose by a Mediocre 115,000 in April
04/27 - U.S. GDP +2.2% in Q1 2012 and Alberta led Canadian Provinces in 2011
04/18 - U.S. Inflation Low in March; Canada’s Central Bank Looking to Raise Rates

click here to update your log-in and member information

click here to maintain your company profile & view metrics