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BMO Blue Book: Construction Holds Up Well During Pandemic

TORONTO, July 31, 2020 /CNW/ - Construction activity has held up relatively well during the pandemic, as – other than a brief shutdown in parts of Canada in April – it has largely been able to continue operating near capacity, according to an outlook for the sector in the BMO Blue Book.

The BMO Blue Book, published by BMO Economics and BMO Business Banking, combines the expertise of BMO's economists with information on current national and provincial business conditions provided to BMO's business bankers by local businesspeople. This edition also features an outlook for five key sectors of the Canadian economy: technology, agriculture, energy, manufacturing and construction.

The report notes that residential construction will remain solid in the near term, with housing starts expected to rebound to 215,000 units in 2021, from 195,000 in 2020. "The average of the two years marks only a slight downshift from home-building activity in recent years," said Doug Porter, Chief Economist, BMO Financial Group.

Non-residential construction should remain mixed. "Construction in the oil sector will likely remain quite subdued given the oil price backdrop, and office and retail construction will also be weak," noted Mr. Porter. "However, public-sector infrastructure investment should remain solid, particularly if federal and provincial budgets focus on stimulus post-COVID. Some provinces have already hinted at pulling forward capital spending programs to support economic growth."

The BMO Blue Book can be downloaded at:

About BMO Financial Group
Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider - the 8th largest bank, by assets, in North America. With total assets of $987 billion as of April 30, 2020, and a team of diverse and highly engaged employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

SOURCE BMO Financial Group

For further information: For News Media Inquiries: James DeCosimo, Toronto,, (416) 867-3996; Peter Scott, Toronto,, (416) 867-3996; Internet:; Twitter: @BMOMedia