BuildingTeam Construction Forecast


Overview of Canadian Construction Markets
11/6/2007 12:48:00 PM - The level of housing starts in Canada has seriously diverged from the level of housing starts in the U.S. The justifications for the ongoing exceptional levels of starts in Canada are not there. Commercial construction is currently about as strong as it can get. Industrial construction based on resources will remain strong as long as world growth keeps chugging along. Finally, institutional markets and a number of engineering construction categories will continue to benefit from strong government finances.

Drivers of Commodity Prices are Domestic and International
10/31/2007 9:34:00 AM - Much of the strength of the Canadian economy currently reflects world commodity prices. There are two categories of commodity prices — those determined by essentially domestic factors and those determined internationally. Domestic means North American and, more specifically, U.S. and Canada. Internationally-set commodity prices are increasingly being driven by demand in China. The Chinese government is likely to keep pumping up its economy until the Summer Olympics in Beijing next year.

The Prospect of Higher Inflation points to Higher Interest Rates in Canada
10/31/2007 9:17:00 AM - Since the recent release of the Bank of Canada's Inflation and Monetary Policy Outlook report, energy prices have escalated sharply and this increase will likely put additional upward pressure on Canada's headline inflation rate. Given that labour markets are very tight in most regions, there is an increased probability that the escalation in prices will lead to a further increase in wage rates.

Strong Labour Markets Leading to Higher Wages
10/29/2007 8:51:00 AM - Employment growth in Canada continued its strong pace in September 2007. The Canadian economy has created even more new jobs through the first nine months of this year than during the same period last year (+283,000 versus +219,000, for a net gain of +64,000). The construction sector, with a net gain of +43,000 jobs, has played a key role in the overall jobs strength. Furthermore, the current figure for average hourly earnings (+4.2%) is the highest in the history of this series, which dates back to 1997.

Canada and U.S. Diverge in Construction and Manufacturing Jobs Outlooks
10/26/2007 11:00:00 AM - U.S. construction employment continues to suffer as housing starts are leveling off from their precipitous slide, but are not yet at bottom. After a slight hiccup in late 2006 and early 2007, construction employment growth in Canada has bounced back to the 7.0%-plus year-over-year rate. Prospects for the U.S. manufacturing sector have improved, but Canada’s dollar value gains will make the playing field a tougher contest for Canadian manufacturers trying to sell into the U.S.

Canada's Employment Growth Moves at Double the U.S. Pace
10/24/2007 7:37:00 AM - The U.S. unemployment rate (4.7%) has edged slightly higher over the past six months, but still remains quite low. In Canada, the unemployment rate has just fallen below 6.0% for the first time since November 1974. The bottom line is that labor markets remain tight in both countries. As a result, the returns going to labor have been gradually creeping up.

Low Unemployment Rate will Continue to Put Pressure on Ontario Construction Wages
10/24/2007 7:31:00 AM - According to a recent issue of the Ontario Ministry of Labour's Collective Bargaining Highlights, the overall average increase in base wage rates in August 2007 was 3.6%, up from 2.9% in July. This figure represents the largest increase in wage settlements since 2005. Regionally, strong labour demand in the West is putting pressure on wage rates in Ontario. Ontario employers are forced to pay more, not only to attract new staff, but also to retain their existing workforce.

Deterioration in Home Affordability Points to a Weaker Housing Market in Canada
10/24/2007 7:28:00 AM - Based on the September 2007 Housing Affordability Report by the Royal Bank of Canada, the outlook for housing in 2008 continues to deteriorate. Over the past year, increases in prices, mortgage rates, utilities and property taxes have all contributed to making housing less affordable. Moreover, the share of income necessary to own a home has escalated in every province and every major metro area in Canada.

Headlines Created by Bridge Collapses turns Aging Infrastructure into a Hot Topic
10/4/2007 9:11:00 AM - Headlines made by the collapse of bridges in Canada and the U.S. are turning aging infrastructure into a hot topic. Based on recent Statistics Canada data, all four major components of engineering infrastructure in Canada — roads and highways, sewer systems, wastewater treatment facilities and bridges — are now well into middle age. After peaking in 2000, the average ages of the first two components have declined gradually. However, the age of the remaining components has continued to increase.

Deterioration in Home Affordability points to a Weaker Housing Market
10/4/2007 9:07:00 AM - Over the past year, increases in prices, mortgage rates, utilities and property taxes have all contributed to making housing less affordable in Canada, according to the latest Housing Affordability Report by the Royal Bank of Canada. The share of income necessary to own a home escalated in every province and every major metro area over the past year. Going forward, new residential construction will moderate more rapidly in those metro areas that have seen the most significant deterioration in affordability.

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