Home building industry says Calgary residential construction boosted economy by $5.7 billion – 19,300 direct jobs supported by the industry

Residential construction in the Calgary region boosted the local economy by $5.7 billion in completed projects and employed 19,300 direct jobs last year, says a new report released Friday by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association-Alberta.

The survey also said home builders and renovators in the Calgary area supported 9,200 indirect jobs in Alberta and 8,700 in other provinces with total wages at $2.3 billion.

The CHBA said the impact of homebuyers on Alberta’s economy is even greater when spinoff benefits of the industry are considered.

Will Dunning Inc., a specialist in housing market analysis, which conducted the report, said the province’s home builders and renovators completed $15.1 billion in construction last year and directly employed 48,000 workers. It supported another 22,600 indirect jobs in Alberta as well as 21,800 jobs in other provinces during 2012. Wages paid by the industry totalled more than $5.7 billion.

“We forget the key role home construction plays in Alberta’s economy because oilsands megaprojects get so much attention. But comparing the $12.9 billion Imperial Oil spent over three years to build the Kearl oilsands mine with the more than $15 billion spent on residential construction in a single year puts the importance of housing in perspective,” said Dave Hooge, president of the CHBA-Alberta, in a news release.

The association also said average weekly earnings in construction were $1,301 – significantly higher than the $1,146 average for all industries in Alberta.

“In a year when the Alberta government is struggling with lower resource prices, it is important to recognize that residential construction is a key driver of the economy. Companies and their employees pay taxes that support all levels of the government. Municipal, provincial and federal government policies that make homes unaffordable should be balanced against the fact that the industry generates big benefits for the economy as a whole,” said Jim Rivait, the association’s chief executive.

The report’s finding of the economic impact in different regions include:

Edmonton: Value of construction – $5.6 billion; direct jobs – 17,200; indirect jobs in Alberta – 8,000; jobs in other provinces – 7,800; total wages – $2 billion.

Grande Prairie: Value of construction – $265 million; direct jobs – 900; indirect jobs in Alberta – 410; jobs in other provinces – 410; total wages – $107 million.

Lethbridge: Value of construction – $330 million; direct jobs – 1,100; indirect jobs in Alberta – 510; jobs in other provinces – 510; total wages – $132 million.

Medicine Hat: Value of construction – $167 million; direct jobs – 560; indirect jobs in Alberta – 260; jobs in other provinces – 250; total wages – $66 million.

Red Deer: Value of construction – $262 million; direct jobs – 880; indirect jobs in Alberta – 420; jobs in other provinces – 390; total wages – $105 million.

Lloydminster: Value of construction – $201 million; direct jobs – 470; indirect jobs in Alberta – 180; jobs in other provinces – 300; total wages – $52 million.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

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