Gross domestic product by industry, August 2012

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Real gross domestic product edged down 0.1% in August, the first monthly decline since February 2012. Goods production declined 0.5% in August, mainly as a result of decreases in mining and oil and gas extraction and in manufacturing. Declines were also recorded in utilities and construction. The output of service industries was unchanged in August. Increases in wholesale trade, transportation services and the public sector (education, health and public administration combined) were offset by declines in the output of real estate agents and brokers, retail trade, and the finance and insurance sector.

Chart 1 
Real gross domestic product edges down in August
Chart 1: Real gross domestic product edges down in August

Chart description: Real gross domestic product edges down in August

CSV version of the chart

Mining and oil and gas extraction declines

Mining and oil and gas extraction declined 0.7% in August. Excluding oil and gas extraction, mining fell 2.8%. Metal ore mining declined 4.7% as a result of decreases in output at copper, nickel, lead and zinc mines as well as at gold and silver ore mines. Scheduled maintenance affected metal ore output in August. Non-metallic mineral mining decreased 2.6% as a result of decreases in output at potash mines.

Oil and gas extraction decreased 0.4%, as a decline in crude petroleum production outweighed an increase in natural gas extraction. Maintenance activities at some oilfields affected crude petroleum output in August.

Manufacturing output decreases

Manufacturing output decreased 0.6% in August, following a 0.9% increase in July. Durable goods production decreased 1.3% in August, mainly as a result of declines in fabricated metal products, furniture and related products, primary metal products as well as electrical equipment, appliance and component manufacturing. In contrast, the output of machinery manufacturers increased. Non-durable goods manufacturing grew 0.3%, mainly as a result of increases in paper, in petroleum and coal products, and in beverage and tobacco products manufacturing. Conversely, there were declines in textile and textile product mills and chemical manufacturing.

Chart 2 
Manufacturing output falls in August
Chart 2: Manufacturing output falls in August

Chart description: Manufacturing output falls in August

CSV version of the chart

Wholesale trade rises while retail trade falls

Wholesale trade rose 1.0% in August. Notable increases were recorded in the wholesaling of food products, of machinery, equipment and supplies, of building materials, of petroleum products and of farm products. Conversely, the activity of miscellaneous wholesalers (which include agriculture supplies and chemical products) declined in August.

Retail trade fell 0.5% in August, following a 0.4% increase in July. There were declines in retailing activity at motor vehicles and parts dealers, health and personal care stores, food and beverage stores as well as at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers. Conversely, activity at general merchandise stores (which include department stores) and at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores was up.

Construction edges down

Construction edged down 0.1% in August. Declines in residential and non-residential building construction as well as in repair works outweighed an increase in engineering construction.

The output of real estate agents and brokers fell 6.6% in August, down for a fourth consecutive month, as activity in the home resale market declined.

Utilities retreat

Utilities declined 0.8% in August, following four consecutive monthly increases. The notable decrease in electricity production in August was partly a result of a return to more seasonal weather.

Finance and insurance sector activity falls

After increasing for four consecutive months, the finance and insurance sector fell 0.3% in August, led by decreased output of security brokerages (from reduced volume of trading on the stock exchanges) and declines in insurance carriers.

Other industries

The public sector edged up 0.1% as increases in health care and education services were partly offset by a decline in public administration. Transportation and warehousing services rose 0.3% as an increase in pipeline transportation more than offset a decline in rail transportation.

Chart 3 
Main industrial sectors' contribution to the percent change in gross domestic product, August 2012
Chart 3: Main industrial sectors' contribution to the percent change in gross domestic product, August 2012

Chart description: Main industrial sectors' contribution to the percent change in gross domestic product, August 2012

CSV version of the chart

Note to readers

The monthly gross domestic product (GDP) by industry data at basic prices are chained volume estimates with 2002 as the reference year. This means that the data for each industry and each aggregate are obtained from a chained volume index multiplied by the industry's value added in 2002. For the 1997 to 2008 period, the monthly data are benchmarked to annually chained Fisher volume indexes of GDP obtained from the constant-price input-output tables.

For the period starting with January 2009, the data are derived by chaining a fixed-weight Laspeyres volume index to the prior period. The fixed weights are 2008 industry prices.

This approach makes the monthly GDP by industry data more comparable with the expenditure-based GDP data, chained quarterly.

All data in this release are seasonally adjusted. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonal adjustment and identifying economic trends.


With this release of monthly GDP by industry, revisions have been made back to January 2012. In the context of the comprehensive revision to the Canadian System of National Accounts, historically-revised data of monthly GDP by industry are planned for release on January 31, 2013. These revisions will extend back to January 2007 and will reflect conceptual, classification and statistical improvements. For more information about monthly GDP by industry, see the National economic accounts module on our website.

Available without charge in CANSIM: table CANSIM table379-0027.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number survey number1301.

The August 2012 issue of Gross Domestic Product by Industry, Vol. 26, no. 8 (Catalogue number15-001-X, free), is now available from the Key resource module of our website under Publications.

Data on gross domestic product by industry for September will be released on November 30.

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Allan Tomas (613-951-9277), Industry Accounts Division.