Manufacturing sales rose 1.4 percent in September to $41.7 billion, largely reflecting increases in the motor vehicle industry, according to Statistics Canada’s Monthly Survey of Manufacturing (see August, July, June, May and April results). Manufacturing sales have increased in three of the past four months, after dropping to a recent low of $38.5 billion in May. Despite the recent gains, sales remained 18.6 percent below September 2008 levels.
Most of the manufacturing gains in September were in the motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts industries. Other durable goods industries, such as primary metals and fabricated metals, also contributed to the increase.
Constant dollar manufacturing sales rose 1.8 percent in September.
Sales advanced in 14 of the 21 manufacturing industries. These industries accounted for over half (53.1%) of total sales.
Motor vehicle manufacturing behind September’s gain
In September, motor vehicle sales increased by 16.4 percent to $3.8 billion, the highest level since September 2008. Sales had fallen to as low as $1.6 billion in January 2009, due to extended shutdowns and poor market conditions.
Motor vehicle parts sales gained 13.7 percent in September, reflecting rising motor vehicle production. Excluding motor vehicles, parts and accessories, manufacturing sales edged down 0.4 percent during the month.
Primary metal manufacturers reported a 6.7-percent sales gain compared with August. Several plants across the country restarted production in September, pushing sales higher after maintenance shutdowns and other closures during the previous months.
Some of these gains were offset by a steep decline in the aerospace products and parts industry. Production fell 28.6 percent in September following a 34.2-percent drop in August. As a result, aerospace products and parts production fell to the lowest level since June 2003. Production in this industry has been particularly volatile over the past year.
Other industries reporting sales declines included chemical products (–2.5%) and petroleum and coal products (–1.6%).
Saskatchewan and Ontario report strong gains
Sales in Saskatchewan jumped 16.1 percent compared with August. Strength in manufacturing in September was mainly as a result of a later than normal harvest this year, which had an impact on food manufacturers. Petroleum and coal product manufacturers also reported increased demand due to extended farm activity in September.
Ontario also reported stronger sales in September, with a five-percent gain. Most of the increase was due to rising sales in the transportation equipment industry (+4.7%). Petroleum and coal products (+13.8%) and fabricated metal products (+7.9%) were the other sizeable contributors to the increase in Ontario.
Most of the weakness in manufacturing was centred in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. Quebec reported a 2.2-percent decline in September, largely due to the aerospace industry. Sales in the Atlantic provinces dropped 12.4 percent, mostly as a result of weak sales in the petroleum and coal products industry.