Construction Drives Hiring Nationwide

construction new recruits

A new report released by BMO Bank of Montreal suggests that while companies are split on whether or not they will hire additional workers in 2012, construction has been a driving force behind recent job growth, where it occurs, in Canada.

According to the survey, in which Leger Marketing polled 500 small business owners across the nation between March 21 and April 12,  nearly half of Canadian businesses (46 per cent) are planning to hire additional workers this year. Of those companies, 51 per cent said they expect to hire more than last year, while an additional 43 per cent said they expect to hire the same number of new employees as they did last year.

An uptick in hiring in the construction field helped lead job growth and fuel optimism according to Statistics Canada employment data. The survey revealed that 57 per cent of employers in the mining, oil and gas, construction and manufacturing fields planning to add employees in 2012.

“The main drivers in April were the cyclical sectors of construction and manufacturing,” said BMO Capital Markets deputy chief economist Doug Porter. “Transportation, finance, resources and education were also all solid. Most provinces saw gains, led by another comeback month by Quebec and big gains across the three western-most provinces.”

While jobs in the public sector actually decreased slightly last month, employment growth in the private sector painted a rosier picture, “neatly offsetting the job losses in the public sector last month – hopefully that can continue through the rest of the year,” Porter said.

While the survey reflects trends Canada-wide, the results were further broken down by province. British Columbia and Manitoba led the way, with 55 per cent of employers planning to hire in 2012. Saskatchewan lagged behind other provinces and regions, with only 33 per cent saying they were aiming to add employees.

Larger companies were also, perhaps unsurprisingle, more likely to hire this year than businesses with 10 or fewer employees.

BMO Bank of Montreal vice-president of commercial banking Cathy Pin said companies were “cautiously optimistic in their outlook” and were responding accordingly through their plans to invest in more employees or make other expendtures.

“With a degree of uncertainty about the global economy still a consideration, many businesses are making these investment choices differently based on the sector they operate in, possibly their physical location, and on their own business plans,” she said. “Sometimes these will include new hiring and sometimes it will center on other types of growth initiatives.”

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