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Manufacturing posts third highest sales month since July 2008

Published by Brad Fougere on December 16, 2014

After a spike in deliveries in September, sales of aerospace and primary metals products returned to more normal levels in October. Those declines were enough to offset gains in other sectors and, as a result, overall manufacturing sales dipped 0.6 per cent, to $52.7 billion in October.


Even with the decline, however, October was still the third best monthly performance for Canadian manufacturers so far this year, and also the third best month since July 2008.

In spite of October’s decline, Canadian manufacturers remain on pace for an excellent year in 2014. From January through October, total sales are up 5.7 per cent compared to the same period last year. It is also worth noting that Canadian manufacturers have significantly outperformed their US counterparts so far this year; US manufacturing sales are just 3.0 per cent higher through October.


Although both industries are enjoying an excellent year in 2014, as noted above, the drop in Canadian manufacturing shipments in October was largely the result of lower sales in the aerospace and primary metals sectors. Aerospace deliveries fell by 15.6 per cent in October, offsetting a revised 17.4 per cent spike in September. The story for primary metals was similar, albeit less severe. Sales fell by 5.5 per cent in October after a 6.4 per cent increase the previous month. However, since primary metals is a much larger sub-sector of Canadian manufacturing, the dollar-value decrease was similar for the two industries – $291 million in aerospace and $242 million in primary metals.

Were it not for lower shipments in those two industries, manufacturing sales across Canada would have increased by 0.4 per cent in October.

Aside from the return to more normal sales levels in those two industries, most other manufacturing sub-sectors posted modest growth in October. Leading the way were paper producers, which saw 1.9 per cent growth over September’s levels. Computers and electronics (2.0 per cent), motor vehicles and parts (1.1 per cent), and the printing (1.3 per cent) industries were among the leaders. Although much smaller than most other manufacturing sub-sectors, clothing and leather businesses saw sharply higher sales in October. 

Sales were down in most provinces, with the largest dollar-value declines in Quebec and New Brunswick. Due largely to lower aerospace deliveries, manufacturing sales in Quebec fell by 3.0 per cent ($392 million) in October. In New Brunswick, unscheduled maintenance at the Irving oil refinery resulted in an 11.7 per cent drop in overall manufacturing shipments ($175 million).


The opposite was true in Newfoundland and Labrador, where refinery output resumed following scheduled maintenance. As a result, provincial manufacturing sales were up more than 100 per cent in October. Alberta (1.3 per cent) and Nova Scotia (1.1 per cent) also saw healthy month-over-month gains, while manufacturing in BC was up just slightly (0.3 per cent).

Found in: Stats Canada

National Office

Alberta British Columbia
Manitoba New Brunswick
Newfoundland & Labrador Nova Scotia
Ontario Québec
Prince Edward Island Saskatchewan