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Canadian construction activity dropped 41 per cent from March to April and is now recovering

Analysis of worker hours shows sharp drop in Ontario, British Columbia minimally affected


August 13, 2020
By SP&T Staff

New data shows how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected construction activity in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, with worker hours dropping in March and recovering in late spring and the summer. The Construction Activity Index is an effort by Procore to support the construction industry through the current pandemic by providing insights from construction activity data within the Procore platform. The index tracks weekly changes in worker hours from a baseline the week of March 16 through the week of July 27, 2020.

Across the provinces for which data is available, worker hours dropped through March to a low of 41 per cent below baseline the week of April 6. All the provinces were all above the baseline as of the week of July 27.

The provinces have had different COVID-19 caseloads, timelines and policies, including protocols addressing construction activity. Insights from data within Procore indicate that Ontario saw the sharpest decline, dropping 57 per cent below the baseline the week of April 6. Worker hours in Ontario then climbed before levelling off in June. Alberta’s decline was not as dramatic as seen in Ontario, but lasted longer, with construction activity dropping below the baseline in 12 of the 19 weeks covered in the data. In contrast, British Columbia has seen worker hours remain above the baseline except for a drop of seven per cent the week of April 6.

“The pandemic has challenged all of us, personally and professionally,” said Jas Saraw, vice-president, Canada, at Procore. “Our position in the industry enables us to provide insights that would otherwise be unavailable. This information helps construction organizations and economists better understand trends and consider ways forward as the industry navigates the pandemic and recession together.”

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