March 18 2024: Unemployment rate up; Permit value rises slightly

March 18, 2024

A decrease in employment and an increase in the labour force pushed the unemployment rate up in February. Permit value increased incrementally from December to January but was lower compared to most of last year and down from Jan 2023.

From January to February, employment decreased from 556.3 thousand to 554.7 thousand, while the labour force increased from 591.4 thousand to 594.3 thousand. This pushed the unemployment rate up to 6.7% (higher than Ontario overall rate of 6.5%). While this rate is higher than the last 2 years, it is lower than the pre-pandemic rate of 8.2% from Feb 2019. Additionally, while construction employment was down 2.2% from a year ago, it was higher than it was in any February prior.

Monthly Changes

From December to January, total ICI permit value increased 7.5% from $1.27 billion to $1.36 billion. This was driven by increases in the commercial and industrial sectors. Permit value in the commercial sector rebounded 11.2% ($596.2 million to $663.2 million) after 4 consecutive months of declines. Industrial permit value increased 16.5% from $419.4 million to $488.8 million. Institutional sector permit value decreased 16.1% from $253.3 million to a relatively low value of $212.5 million; it was only this low in September 2023 in the past year.

Yearly Changes
Year-over-year change in permit value was overall negative as total ICI permit value was down 3% compared to January 2023. Commercial permit value was down 20.4% ($833.6 million to $663.2 million) and institutional permit value was down 21.2% ($269.6 million to $212.5 million). The industrial sector however was still quite strong compared to last year with a 61.1% y/y increase from January 2023 ($303.4 million to $488.8 million).



Ali Ahmad
Research Analyst

Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS)
180 Attwell Drive, Suite 360, Toronto, ON M9W 6A9
P 416.620.5210 ext. 222