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Gross domestic product by industry

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January 2009 (Previous release)

Real gross domestic product declined 0.7% in January following decreases of 1.0% in December 2008 and 0.7% in November 2008.

The output of manufacturing, especially of motor vehicle and associated parts industries, as well as wholesale trade and construction were the main contributors to the January drop. The finance and insurance sector, transportation, mining (excluding oil and gas extraction), and accommodation and food services also retreated. Economic activity increased in retail trade, oil and gas extraction and the public sector.

 Economic activity declines further

Manufacturing activity decreases

Activity in the manufacturing sector decreased for a sixth consecutive month in January (-3.1%). Export-oriented sub-sectors were particularly hit as the volume of merchandise exports decreased 7.0% in January. While 18 of the 21 major manufacturing groups lost ground, about half of the decline was attributable to a 27% reduction in motor vehicle and associated parts production.

Motor vehicle manufacturers sharply curtailed their output in January in reaction to lower demand in the United States. This brought the level of production in the Canadian motor vehicle and parts industries to about 40% of the peak recorded in the first quarter of 2007.

Manufacturing industries related to construction activities continued to be affected by the decline in that sector in both Canada and the US. In addition, the reduced demand for newsprint led to temporary closures of newsprint mills. Computer and electronic product manufacturing also dropped.

Note to readers

The monthly gross domestic product (GDP) by industry data at basic prices are chained volume estimates with 2002 as their reference year. This means that the estimates for each industry and aggregate are obtained from a chained volume index multiplied by the industry's value added in 2002. For the 1997 to 2005 period, the monthly estimates are benchmarked to annually chained Fisher volume indexes of GDP obtained from the constant-price input-output tables.

For the period starting with January 2006, the estimates are derived by chaining a fixed-weight Laspeyres volume index to the prior period. The fixed weights are the industry output and input prices of 2005. This makes the monthly GDP by industry estimates more comparable with the expenditure-based GDP data, chained quarterly.


With this release of monthly GDP by industry, revisions have been made back to January 2008. For more information about monthly GDP by industry, see the National economic accounts module on our website (

 Motor vehicle manufacturing drops

Wholesale trade falls

The volume of wholesaling activity continued to fall in January (-3.4%). The main declines were in the wholesaling of automotive products, building materials, and machinery and electronic equipment. Conversely, the wholesaling of food products and of other products (including agricultural, chemical, recycled material and paper products) increased.

Construction down

Construction activity was down 3.0% in January. Residential and non-residential building construction as well as engineering and repair work decreased. There was a sharp decline in residential building construction (-6.4%), particularly in the construction of new dwellings. Commercial and industrial building construction also contracted, while that of institutional buildings edged up.

The output of real estate agents and brokers continued to decline in January (-2.6%) as housing sales decreased again. This also affected professional services associated with housing sales, particularly legal services.

The finance and insurance sector retreats

The finance and insurance sector retreated 0.7% in January in light of the reduced level of activity in banking services, stock brokerages and mutual fund sales. In particular, banking activities related to residential mortgages and short-term business loans declined. However, activities in short-term personal loans and fixed-term deposits recorded a modest increase.

Retail trade increases

Value added in retail trade increased 1.4% in January, following three consecutive monthly declines. The volume of activities at new car dealers rebounded in January from its December decline, but remained below the level posted in the fourth quarter of 2008. Some motor vehicle manufacturers have introduced incentives programs to bolster sales.

Excluding new car dealers, retail trade increased 0.5%. Advances posted by supermarkets and beer, wine and liquor stores helped the sector move forward. These gains were partially offset by the decrease registered by gasoline stations and home centres and hardware stores.

Energy sector output essentially unchanged

The energy sector's output was essentially unchanged in January. An increase in oil and gas extraction, particularly of natural gas, and in the transportation of natural gas, eclipsed the decline in electricity generation and the significant contraction in support activities for mining and oil and gas extraction.

The storage of natural gas fell significantly in both Canada and the United States, while exports of natural gas to the United States advanced.

The output of the mining sector excluding oil and gas extraction decreased 0.9% in January. The fall in non-metal mining activity, mostly in potash production, outweighed the rise in metal ore mines.

 Main industrial sectors' contribution to the percent change in gross domestic product

Other industries

The weakness observed in manufacturing and wholesale trade continued to hamper transportation services, such as trucking and rail. Activities in urban transit transportation fell, largely because of a labour dispute in Ontario. Both accommodation and food services retreated, paralleling a significant reduction in the number of overnight visitors to Canada.

Available on CANSIM: table 379-0027.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 1301.

The January 2009 issue of Gross Domestic Product by Industry, Vol. 23, no. 1 (15-001-XWE, free), is now available from the Publications module of our website.

Data on gross domestic product by industry for February will be released on April 30.

For more information, or to order data, contact the dissemination agent (toll-free 1-800-887-4623; 613-951-4623; To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Bernard Lefrançois (613-951-3622), Industry Accounts Division.

Table 1

Monthly gross domestic product by industry at basic prices in chained (2002) dollars
  August 2008r September 2008r October 2008r November 2008r December 2008r January 2009p January 2009 January 2008 to January 2009
  Seasonally adjusted
  month-to-month % change $ millions¹ % change
All Industries -0.5  -0.0  -0.1  -0.7  -1.0  -0.7  1,198,827 -2.4 
Goods-producing industries -1.3  -0.4  0.0  -1.4  -2.1  -1.9  343,618 -6.8 
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting 0.2 -1.3 1.2 0.3 -0.2 0.5 26,049 0.4
Mining and oil and gas extraction -2.0 -1.1 1.2 -0.6 -1.1 -0.2 54,505 -2.3
Utilities -0.1 -0.2 0.0 -1.4 -0.3 -0.4 30,377 -4.0
Construction 0.1 0.0 0.5 -1.1 -2.7 -3.0 70,493 -4.8
Manufacturing -2.0 -0.2 -1.1 -2.4 -3.1 -3.1 159,087 -11.9
Services-producing industries -0.2  0.1  -0.1  -0.3  -0.5  -0.2  858,578 -0.4 
Wholesale trade -2.9 0.3 -2.4 -2.4 -2.1 -3.4 63,563 -12.5
Retail trade -0.1 0.4 -0.7 -0.7 -3.4 1.4 72,752 -2.7
Transportation and warehousing -0.8 -0.3 -0.1 -0.7 -1.6 -0.7 54,966 -3.5
Information and cultural industries 0.5 0.0 0.1 -0.0 -0.0 0.4 45,599 2.0
Finance, insurance and real estate 0.0 0.3 0.0 -0.3 0.1 -0.1 247,777 0.9
Professional, scientific and technical services 0.3 0.1 0.1 -0.0 -0.1 -0.1 58,642 0.5
Administrative and waste management services -0.2 -0.3 -0.0 -0.2 -0.3 -0.0 30,838 -1.4
Education services 0.2 0.1 0.2 -0.1 0.3 0.2 61,200 2.3
Health care and social assistance 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.5 0.4 -0.1 80,683 3.2
Arts, entertainment and recreation 0.1 0.2 0.8 -0.2 -0.2 1.2 11,942 2.7
Accommodation and food services 0.6 -1.2 0.4 0.3 -0.6 -0.6 27,359 -2.3
Other services (except public administration) 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.1 -0.1 32,821 2.1
Public administration 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.1 0.2 0.1 70,545 3.1
Other aggregations                
Industrial production -1.8 -0.5 -0.2 -1.6 -2.1 -1.8 247,924 -7.8
Non-durable manufacturing industries -2.2 0.4 -0.9 -1.2 -1.6 -0.6 66,812 -6.5
Durable manufacturing industries -1.8 -0.6 -1.1 -3.2 -4.1 -5.0 92,164 -15.8
Business sector industries -0.7 -0.1 -0.1 -0.8 -1.2 -0.9 996,704 -3.4
Non-business sector industries 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.1 0.3 0.1 202,234 2.8
Information and communication technologies industries -0.0 0.3 0.0 -0.6 -0.1 -0.7 58,308 0.1
Energy sector -2.0 -0.6 1.1 -0.6 -0.8 0.0 82,007 -2.7
Millions of chained (2002) dollars, seasonally adjusted at annual rates.