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Canadian economy remains flat

Published by Steve Coleman on October 19, 2011

Early indications say the Canadian economy was flat for the fourth-straight month.

Statistics Canada's composite leading index says six of the 10 factors used to look at the economy as a whole rose slightly during the month, but a weak stock market and manufacturing sector offset any gains in the housing industry.

Canadians were busier house hunting, boosting the number of sales 1.2 per cent. It was the largest jump since the spring.

Of course, buying a new home meant good things for the people who make goods to put into them. Furniture and appliance sales recorded a 0.4 per cent increase in August and demand for other "durable goods" was also up for the third-straight month.

Service industry jobs turned out to be the largest job creator.

The news wasn't as rosy for manufacturers, however. Compared to the previous two months, Stats Can says all of the manufacturing indicators fell during the month. New orders were down 0.7 per cent after gaining 3.4 per cent over a two-month span.

Sales came back after two months of decline, but the ration of shipments to inventories continued to fall. It's an indication manufacturers have more finished goods on hand, Stats Can says.

Manufacturing workers also had more free time, on average, during the month. The average workweek shortened for the fourth-straight month.

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