Manufacturing sales continue sharp descent

Thursday March 19, 2009
Written by
OTTAWA, Ont. - Manufacturing sales decreased 5.4 percent to $41.7 billion in January, falling to the lowest level in almost 10 years, according to Statistics Canada's Monthly Survey of Manufacturing for January 2009.
This drop can be attributed mostly to the record decreases reported by the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts industries. Excluding motor vehicles and parts and accessories, manufacturing sales decreased a more moderate 1.2 percent compared with December.

Constant dollar manufacturing sales, which are measured in 2002 prices, fell 6.4 percent to $38.1 billion in January; the sharpest decrease in constant dollar sales since 1997.

Sales in 14 of 21 manufacturing industries decreased in January, accounting for about three-fifths of total sales. The transportation equipment industry reported its largest monthly decline on record, falling 27.3 percent in January. Most of the decline was due to lower sales by motor vehicle (-46.3 percent) and motor vehicle parts manufacturers (-27.1 percent). Primary metal manufacturers, which have seen prices decrease steadily since August 2008, also reported lower sales in January, falling 10.5 percent.

But it's not all bad news. Some sectors had a slight increase in manufacturing sales in January, following the decreases reported by 20 of 21 industries in December. Petroleum and coal product manufacturers reported a 7.2 percent increase compared with December. This was the first gain in seven months, as industry prices stabilized in January after falling about 50 percent between July and December 2008. In addition, food manufacturers saw sales increase by 4.4 percent after three months of declines.

In January, six provinces reported lower manufacturing sales. Ontario reported the largest decrease, with sales falling 11.3 percent. Manufacturing sales in Ontario fell $2.3 billion dollars, mostly as a result of a record drop in motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts sales. Motor vehicle manufacturing sales decreased 46.9 percent or $1.5 billion, and motor vehicle parts sales decreased 27.2 percent or $367 million.

The Atlantic provinces posted mostly positive results, with sales up 2.3 percent in the region compared with December. Alberta also managed a slight gain in January, the first since September 2008. Sales rose 0.6 percent on a slight rebound in the chemical and petroleum product industries.

For the full report, visit www.statcan.gc.ca/.

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