July’s Work Force Labor Survey highlighted a sharp fall in the number of construction jobs across the country at around 45,000 lost.
According to the BC Construction Association, just about 15,000 of those jobs lost were in BC.
“There’s some major projects that are past their apex where there’s some downsizing of those large jobs. I think that the seasonal issues around wildfires has paused a number of projects in the affected areas.” Says BC Construction Association President Chris Atchison.
While 15,000 may sound like an alarming number, Atchison says that there are still lots of job openings for trades workers in the industry and recent trade school grads. He pointed to a number of projects on Vancouver Island that are still in progress, like the Cowichan District Hospital, John Hart Dam Upgrade, and the Nanaimo Correctional Center.
“Just to put it in perspective, that 15,000, it’s of a workforce in British Columbia that is in the 250,000 or quarter of a million of people work in the construction industry in British Columbia.”
He adds that another reason for the steep job loss could be the rising cost of living in BC forcing workers to look elsewhere for work.
British Columbia was one of the few provinces to experience a steep loss in construction jobs, but Atchinson says that while the loss might point to something happening in BC, they need more data before drawing any conclusions.