The largest declines occurred in Quebec and Ontario while Saskatchewan had the largest increase in the fourth quarter, mainly due to higher spending on the construction of institutional buildings. In Alberta, spending on offices led a 3.2 per cent decline in the commercial sector while the industrial sector fell 20.7 per cent as the petroleum industry cut back investment.
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Spending on commercial buildings has led to a 1.7 per cent drop in the overall non-residential construction sector in the last quarter of 2015 compared to the previous quarter. Statistics Canada reports that the decline is multi-factored including higher vacancy rates for offices in urban centres and the reduction in investment by the oil and gas industries. Nationally, investment in non-residential building construction was down in six provinces in the fourth quarter.