In 2019, activity in the construction industry will have reached a record level, with 177.0 million hours worked throughout the province – a 9% rise over 2018. This milestone breaks the previous record of 165.5 million hours, reached in 2012.
Although a slight slowdown is expected in 2020, activity will remain strong, with an expected total of 173.5 million hours worked, a drop of 2%. This fallback is explained by weaker performance (between 3% and 6%) in all sectors except the institutional and commercial sector, which will remain stable.
These figures are revealed in Perspectives 2020, a document published today by the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ).
The regional data are available at the bottom of this press release.
Economic activity per sector
After a fourth consecutive year of strong activity in 2019, the civil engineering and roadwork sector is forecasting a 6% drop to 33 million hours worked in 2020. The main factor for this decline is the completion of construction of the new Samuel-de-Champlain Bridge, this fall. However, public bodies, notably the government of Québec and the city of Montréal, plan to maintain their investments at levels similar to those in 2019.
A moderate decline will be seen in the industrial sector, which will record a total of 11.5 million hours worked, 4% less than in 2019. This result is explained by the putting on hold or suspension of certain large-scale projects as a consequence of uncertainty surrounding international markets suppressing investment, the price of raw materials remaining low, and global industrial production slowing.
Activity in the institutional and commercial sector remains at a historic peak in 2020, recording 98 million hours worked for a second consecutive year. Sustained investment in the institutional sector and a large number of commercial projects are mainly responsible for this remarkable performance. A number of sites in the healthcare sector (last phase of the CHUM, new CHU de Québec hospital), major investments in the construction and renovation of schools, and numerous large-scale mixed commercial projects are feeding the effervescence in this sector.
Finally, despite a slight anticipated fallback of 3%, prospects in the residential sector remain promising for 2020, with 31.0 million hours worked. Despite a drop in the issuance of building permits, the resale market will remain strong, favouring a sellers’ market, and the low stock of unsold units and high occupancy rates will maintain pressure on housing demand.
Variation in number of hours worked
|Region||2019 estimate||2020 Forecast|
|All of Québec||9%||-2%|