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Manufacturing sales down in March


May 15, 2009
By Alyssa Dalton


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OTTAWA, Ont. – Manufacturing sales decreased 2.7 percent to $41.4 billion in March, reversing February’s gain, according to Statistics Canada’s Monthly Survey of Manufacturing for March 2009. With this decrease, manufacturing sales have fallen almost 25 percent from their peak reached in July 2008.
 

Sales in 15 of 21 manufacturing industries decreased in March,
accounting for about three-quarters of total sales. Durable goods
industries, such as aerospace parts and products, motor vehicle parts,
and primary metal products, were behind most of the losses in March.

Aerospace products and parts production pulled down results, falling
32.4 percent compared with February. A number of cancelled orders prior
to March may have factored into the decrease.

Motor vehicle parts sales decreased 17.6 percent in March, as
manufacturers continued to struggle with the rapidly changing needs of
motor vehicle plants. However, the drop in the motor vehicle parts
industry was offset by a 22.2 percent gain in motor vehicle sales,
which followed sizeable gains in February. Despite these recent gains,
sales by motor vehicle manufacturers remain about 50 percent below
levels from a year and a half ago.

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Primary metal manufacturers reported a 7.6 percent decrease in March.
Sales in this sector have fallen by about 40 percent since October 2008.

Much of the decline in manufacturing sales was focused in Quebec, which
accounted for more than half of the national decrease. Sales in Quebec
fell by 6.1 percent to $10.5 billion, reaching their lowest level since
June 2003.

In Alberta, manufacturing sales dropped five percent to $4.7 billion. A
23.1 percent decline in the machinery manufacturing industry, stemming
from weakening demand for oil and gas field machinery, was a major
cause of the provincial decline.

Sales in Ontario decreased 1.5 percent to $18.9 billion, following a
7.2 percent gain in February. The main contributors to March’s decline
were petroleum and coal products (down 9.6 percent), primary metals
(down 8.1 percent) and machinery manufacturing (down 5.8 percent).

The one bright spot is in the Atlantic provinces, where manufacturing
sales increased one percent. A rise in sales in the petroleum and coal
products industry was largely responsible for the slight increase.

To view the full report, visit www.statcan.gc.ca.