Construction boom strengthens provincial economy
Creating jobs for Islanders -
Builders and contractors like Carson Gill are benefiting from an active 2017 for residential construction in Prince Edward Island.
Housing starts are up 43.7 percent compared to 2016 and building permits have increased 23.8 percent. Gill, who owns Gill Construction in Mount Stewart, said he’s busy most years but 2017 has been especially strong.
“Simply put, this is the busiest our company has ever been on the residential construction side,” Gill said. “And while we intend to maintain our company’s size to help ensure our reputation for quality is protected, we could easily add staff to help meet the ever growing demand for our services.”
Gill Construction is not alone. In fact, the Construction Association of Prince Edward Island says its members are looking to hire up to 400 additional workers to keep up with the extraordinary demand.
“The demand for services is creating some challenges,” PEI Construction Association General Manager Sam Sanderson said. “But our industry is working closely with the provincial and federal governments to help fill that need through a combination of technical skills training for youth, advertising in other provinces, repatriation of Island workers, and immigration.”
Construction is just one of many sectors of the economy posting impressive year-over-year increases in 2017. Other key indicators include:
- the Island’s unemployment rate is at a record low of 8.8
- full-time employment averaged 83.1 percent through November, ahead of the national average of 81 percent representing an increase of 2,700 full-time workers year over year;
- total labour force was 81,100, an increase of 1,100 compared to November 2016;
- exports were up 5.3 percent through September after an all-time high of $1.32 billion in 2016;
- manufacturing sales were up 8.9 percent through September compared to 2016, well above the national average of 6.2 percent;
- retail sales were up 7.6 percent after a strong year in 2016; and
- tourism visitation and spending are projected to grow by 5 and 3.3 per cent respectively after a record year in 2016.
“There are a number of factors at play that are driving the incredible growth we’re seeing throughout our economy,” Economic Development and Tourism Minister Heath MacDonald said. “Our nation-leading population growth, high consumer confidence, and strategic investments targeting specific sectors like aerospace, bioscience, and advanced manufacturing are helping to make the Island’s economy one of the strongest in the country -- and show why we deserve to call ourselves a mighty Island in so many ways.”