Positive outlook for Ontario construction industry

Ontario’s industrial, commercial and institutional construction industry is feeling positive about its prospects in the coming year, says the Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS).

The OCS Construction Barometer, based on an Ipsos-Reid survey of 550 contractors, hit a rating of 60 (on a scale of 100), a clear indication that the business outlook in the province is strong in 2013, with more in the industry feeling positive about this year than they did in 2012. The barometer is up three points from last year, marking the first increase in expectations since 2010.

“More contractors are expecting to do more work this year than last,” says Sean Strickland, CEO of the OCS. “The Barometer is pointing to increased investment and increased opportunity for job creation in the ICI construction sector. We are seeing particular optimism across southern and central Ontario — through the GTA, from Niagara to Windsor and north into Barrie and Muskoka.”

The Construction Barometer, unveiled at the 13th annual OCS State of the Industry and Outlook Conference, gauges contractors’ perceptions of business conditions over the next 12 months. Measured on a scale of zero to 100, a reading above 50 indicates the amount contractors who expect to conduct more business in the coming year is greater than those who do not. The larger the gap above 50, the greater the level of optimism.

The strength of the feeling in southwestern Ontario is encouraging considering the depressed conditions in the area over the past several years. However, it must also be noted that expectations in Eastern Ontario, particularly around Ottawa, have dropped from nearly 60 on the 2012 Construction Barometer to below 50 this year.

“We are seeing pessimism in part because of concerns about government austerity,” says Strickland.

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