Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Manufacturing sales up in March, transportation equipment drives gains


May 17, 2011
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Manufacturing sales increased 1.9 percent in March to $47.5 billion, following a 1.8 percent decline in February, according to Statistics Canada’s Monthly Survey of Manufacturing for March 2011.

The transportation equipment industry accounted for just over half of the gain, jumping 6.3 percent. Sales also rose in the machinery and paper industries, up 4.2 percent and four percent, respectively. The furniture and related product (up 5.7 percent), computer and electronic product (up 3.9 percent) and food (up 0.8 percent) industries also saw gains.

Higher sales were reported in 15 of 21 industries, representing 80 percent of total manufacturing.

Despite the decline in February, manufacturing sales in the first quarter increased four percent compared with the last three months of 2010. Sales for the first quarter ($141.6 billion) were also the highest since the third quarter of 2008 ($154.9 billion), before the economic downturn began. Including the first quarter of 2011, sales have advanced for seven consecutive quarters.

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In March, nine provinces posted higher sales compared with February, led by Quebec and Alberta.

In Quebec, sales advanced two percent to $11.6 billion. The increase was caused by higher production in the aerospace product and parts industry (up 31.1 percent). An 11.9 percent decline in the chemical industry, stemming from lower sales in the pharmaceutical and medicine industry, partly offset the gain.

Sales increased 3.7 percent in Alberta to $5.7 billion in March. The increase largely reflected a 6.2 percent rise in the chemical industry and a price-driven 3.6 percent advance in petroleum and coal products. A 7.9 percent increase in the machinery industry, largely stemming from higher sales of agricultural, construction and mining machinery, also contributed to the gain.

Sales increases in Newfoundland and Labrador (up 25.8 percent) and Nova Scotia (up 10.4 percent) reflected gains in non-durable goods industries in both provinces.

Sales edged up 0.1 percent to $21.4 billion in Ontario, led by a 4.7 percent increase in the motor vehicle industry. The machinery, furniture, computer and electronic product and printing industries also contributed to the increase. However, declines of 10.1 percent in the petroleum and coal products industry and 21.8 percent in the miscellaneous manufacturing industry offset almost all of the gains.

www.statcan.gc.ca