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Construction hits a downturn after strong 2007

OTTAWA, Ont. -- The latest statistics on building permits may raise concern for truckers in the construction indust...


OTTAWA, Ont. — The latest statistics on building permits may raise concern for truckers in the construction industry.

Construction was one of the bright spots in the Canadian economy which grew by a less than-exciting 2.7% in 2007. Profits in construction rose 26% last year, compared to 9.2% for the Canadian economy overall.

However, the latest data from Statistics Canada reveals that the value of building permits in January fell below the $6-billion mark for the first time since April 2007. An increase in the non-residential sector was insufficient to compensate for fewer construction intentions in the residential area.

Municipalities issued $5.9 billion worth of building permits, down 2.9% from the December 2007 value of $6.0 billion. This was a third consecutive monthly decline.

“Despite the recent declines, building sites should remain busy in the first part of 2008 since construction intentions were strong in 2007. Building permits are a leading indicator for construction activity,” Statistics Canada noted in its report.

In the residential sector, the value of building permits dropped by 13.9% to $3.3 billion. This was fuelled by a 26.9% drop in multi-family housing. Intentions also decreased in the single-family component by -5.4%


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