It's hammer time

Written by Deborah Aarts

If you’re searching for growth in Canada’s construction sector, look way up—to Nunavut. According to Statistics Canada forecasts, the territory will enjoy $1.3 billion in publicly and privately funded new construction activity in 2011—more than twice the amount spent in 2010. The hammers will also be pounding in the Yukon, with investments forecast to grow by 9.1% to $745 million; in Newfoundland and Labrador, where spending is expected to rise by 20.3% to almost $6.2 billion; and in Alberta, where a long building boom is expected to regain steam, growing by 8.1% to $52.5 billion.

All told, Statistics Canada predicts new construction activity will be worth $241 billion in 2011 — up from $232 billion in 2010. With the exceptions of P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Northwest Territories — which are set for a slump — all provinces will experience modest growth over 2010.

Which industries are spending the big bucks? Manufacturing and transportation/warehousing projects will lead the way in year-over-year growth, with investments up by 19% to $3.1 billion and by 24% to $12.2 billion, respectively. Construction in the mining and oil-and-gas sectors will attract $43.9 billion, up by 16% from $37.8 billion. Of that, $4.1 billion will go to construction for extraction-related support services—a big jump from less than $3 billion last year. A little more than $18.3 billion will go to utilities-related construction (up by 3%), with the natural-gas distribution and water/sewage subsectors especially bullish.

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