Unemployment down; permit value changes mixed: OCS

According to the Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS), the unemployment rate dropped from 7.0 per cent in March to 5.8 per cent in April; which is the lowest so far this year.

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A recent economic report by the Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS) revealed that employment and labour force declined from March to April and were lower year-over-year.

According to the report, the unemployment rate decreased from 7.0 per cent to 5.8 per cent, the lowest so far in 2024. Permit value changes were mixed across sectors, with an overall -4.1 per cent year-over-year change.

The report noted that from March to April, employment decreased from 573.2 thousand to 565.6 thousand (-4.3 year-over-year), while the labour force decreased from 616.2 thousand to 600.1 thousand (-4.8 per cent year-over-year). The unemployment rate dropped from 7.0 per cent in March to 5.8 per cent in April, which marks the lowest rate in the last 10 Aprils, with the exception of 2022 when it was 5.1 per cent. According to the report, this was lower than the Ontario overall unemployment rate of 6.7 per cent.

In terms of demographics, female (15 and over) employment was stable at +0.7 per cent year-over-year and labour force went up +4.5 per cent. Male employment and labour force declined at a respective -5.1 per cent year-over-year and -6.1 year-over-year. Employment among the prime working years (24-55, both sexes) was -4.4 per cent year-over-year, while labour force was -5.6 per cent year-over-year.

According to the report, total ICI permit value decreased from $2.01 billion in February to $1.99 billion in March. The commercial sector rebounded and went up from $754.2 million to $1.18 billion and was also up +36.8 per cent year-over-year.

Industrial permit value was down -25 per cent month-over-month, according to the report, dropping from $590.7 million to $442.8 million, and fell by -43.3 per cent year-over-year. Institutional sector permit value came down from $660.7 million to $361.9 million, down a sizable -45.2 per cent month-over-month and -15.3 per cent year-over-year. Despite the decreases, total ICI permit value was up +4.7 per cent on a quarterly basis, and up +9 per cent from Q1 2023.

Year-to-date permit value changes were mixed across sectors, with the industrial sector down versus 2023 (-9.5 per cent), according to the report.

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