PEI

P.E.I. construction industry growth starts to level off

The double digit annual growth seen recently in the P.E.I. construction industry seems to have come to an end, but the Construction Association of P.E.I. says the outlook remains good for the next decade.

'It's taming down a wee little bit'

A shortage of skilled workers is the biggest issue facing the P.E.I. construction industry. (Laura Meader/CBC)

The double digit annual growth seen recently in the P.E.I. construction industry seems to have come to an end, but the Construction Association of P.E.I. says the outlook remains good for the next decade.

"2018 was a banner year in construction here in Prince Edward Island," said association general manager Sam Sanderson.

"It's taming down a wee little bit."

The banner year came on top of two big years in 2016 and 2017, according to a new report from Statistics Canada. Investment in building construction was up 10 per cent in 2016 and 20 per cent in 2017. Growth in 2018 was a far more modest two per cent.

"We're not seeing the growth that we saw a couple of years ago. It's probably a little steadier growth as new infrastructure gets finished," said Sanderson.

A closer look at the numbers shows quite a lot of variation over different sectors. Residential construction, for example, was the big driver in 2017, up 26 per cent, while non-residential construction drove growth in 2016, up 15 per cent.

Growth expected to continue

The outlook for the industry looks good for the next decade, said Sanderson, though he does not expect to see back-to-back double digit growth years again.

As it has been in the past, finding people to do the work will be the biggest challenge.

"The number one issue facing the construction industry not only on Prince Edward Island but across Canada is a shortage of skilled tradespeople," he said.

"We have to promote the opportunities and reach out and find those potentially skilled people interested in the trade sectors."

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About the Author

Kevin Yarr is the early morning web journalist at CBC P.E.I. You can reach him at kevin.yarr@cbc.ca.

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