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Manufacturing at a Glance: The year 2013 in review

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Released: 2014-02-25

Total manufacturing sales fell 0.5% to $591.0 billion in 2013, following gains of 3.5% in 2012 and 8.0% in 2011. The decline in 2013 was a result of lower sales in 13 of 21 industries.

The principal contributors to the decline in 2013 were the primary metal, petroleum and coal product, fabricated metal product and motor vehicle parts industries. For the primary metal, petroleum and coal product, and motor vehicle parts industries, the declines in 2013 were the first since 2009.

The 10-year high for total manufacturing sales was set in 2006 at $605.5 billion and sales then declined to a low of $489.2 billion in 2009. Sales levels in 2013 were 20.8% above the 2009 low and 2.4% below the high of 2006. Offsetting the declines in 2013 were gains in the wood product, aerospace product and parts, and chemical industries.

In the primary metal industry, sales were down 6.7% to $43.2 billion in 2013. The decline mostly reflected lower prices. The average price for products manufactured in the industry, as recorded by the Industrial Product Price Index (IPPI), decreased 5.6% from 2012 to 2013.

Petroleum and coal product sales decreased 2.2% to $83.4 billion in 2013. In 2012, sales had reached a record high of $85.3 billion. The decline in 2013 was caused by lower volumes of product sold, as prices rose 2.0% from 2012 according to the IPPI.

Sales in the fabricated metal product industry fell 4.6% to $33.4 billion in 2013. The decline reflected lower volumes of product sold by manufacturers. Almost all sub-industries posted lower sales in 2013.

The motor vehicle parts industry posted the fourth largest decline in 2013 in dollar terms, with sales falling 6.4% to $23.4 billion. The decline was entirely attributable to lower volumes of product sold in 2013. Sales in this industry had gone from a high of $31.6 billion in 2004 down to a low of $17.2 billion during the recession in 2009. They then rebounded to a post-recession peak of $25.0 billion in 2012.

Despite declines from 2012 to 2013, sales for the petroleum and coal product and motor vehicle parts industries still surpassed levels posted from 2008 to 2011. However, sales in the fabricated metal product manufacturing industry were 8.3% below their 2008 high and sales for the primary metal industry were almost 20% lower than 2008 levels.

The wood product and aerospace product and parts industries post substantial gains in 2013

Total wood product manufacturing reached a high of $35.8 billion in sales in 2004 and subsequently fell to a low of $16.8 billion in 2009. However, sales in recent years have been on the rise. The increase from 2012 to 2013 was particularly noteworthy, with sales up 18.7% to $24.2 billion.

At the same time, there was an increase in demand as a result of the strengthening housing markets in both the United States and China. According to the US Census Bureau, housing starts in the United States were up 18.3% in 2013 compared with 2012. Exports to China have also increased to support housing market stimulus and the growth of urban cities.

Production in the aerospace product and parts industry rose 14.1% to $17.7 billion in 2013. The advance mostly reflected higher volumes of product manufactured, although a 3.8% price gain also contributed to the gain.

  Note to readers

The sales data used in this analysis were annualized from monthly data produced by the Monthly Survey of Manufacturing (MSM). The data used in this release are subject to revision. Later this year, the MSM will publish revised historic estimates for the period 2009 through 2013 for unadjusted data (2007 through 2013 for seasonally adjusted data). After the release of the revised data, a more comprehensive review of annual trends in the manufacturing sector will be published.

Sales data in this release are available in CANSIM table 304-0014.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Jeff Paul (613-951-7328;, Manufacturing and Energy Division.

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