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Gross domestic product by industry, May 2017

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Released: 2017-07-28

Real GDP by industry

May 2017

0.6% increase

(monthly change)

Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew 0.6% in May, as 14 of 20 industrial sectors increased. This was the seventh consecutive monthly increase.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Real gross domestic product grows in May
Real gross domestic product grows in May

Goods-producing industries rose 1.6%, led by mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction, more specifically non-conventional oil extraction. Service-producing industries were up 0.2%, led by finance and insurance services.

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector continues to expand

The mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector grew for the fourth time in five months, up 4.6% in May.

The oil and gas extraction subsector expanded 7.6%, with non-conventional oil extraction rising 13% following two months of declines. There was a rebound in activity at an upgrader facility in Alberta that experienced ongoing production difficulties following a fire and explosion in March. Conventional oil and gas extraction was up 3.2% as both crude petroleum and natural gas extraction expanded.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Oil and gas extraction expands in May
Oil and gas extraction expands in May

Support activities for mining and oil and gas extraction declined 4.0% following nine consecutive monthly increases.

Mining and quarrying (except oil and gas) was unchanged from April. Metal ore mining (-3.1%) declined for the third time in four months on weaker output at iron mines. Coal mining decreased 3.6%. These declines were offset by a 6.7% rise in non-metallic mineral mining as potash extraction expanded 12.8%.

Manufacturing increases

The manufacturing sector was up 1.1% in May as most subsectors grew. Output of manufacturing has been alternating between increases and decreases since the beginning of 2017.

Non-durable manufacturing rose 0.8%, offsetting the decline in April. Five of eight subsectors rose, led by manufacturers of petroleum and coal products (+3.0%), printing and related support activities (+5.8%) and paper (+2.5%).

Durable manufacturing was up 1.4% as 6 of 10 subsectors grew. Leading the growth was the transportation equipment manufacturing subsector (+2.7%) on higher output by manufacturers of motor vehicles, motor vehicle parts and miscellaneous transportation equipment. Machinery was up 2.9% while electrical equipment manufacturing increased 6.8%. Miscellaneous manufacturing increased 0.4%, following six consecutive monthly declines.

Finance and insurance services expand

The finance and insurance sector increased 0.9% in May. Depository credit intermediation and monetary authorities grew 1.5% on increased activity at banking, monetary authorities and other depository credit intermediaries. Insurance carriers and related activities edged up 0.2% while financial investment services, funds and other financial vehicles were virtually unchanged.

Retail and wholesale trade grows

Retail trade grew 0.9% in May with 8 of 12 subsectors increasing. The motor vehicle and parts dealers subsector was up 2.7% on increased activity at new and used car dealers as well as automotive parts, accessories and tire stores. Food and beverage stores and gasoline stations also posted gains. The largest declines in activity were at clothing and clothing accessories stores and general merchandise stores.

Wholesale trade increased for the sixth month in row, up 0.7% in May as the majority of subsectors rose. The largest gains in terms of output were posted by miscellaneous wholesalers (+1.5%), which include agricultural supplies and chemical product wholesalers, followed by wholesalers of personal and household goods (+1.0%) and petroleum products (+3.7%). Wholesaling of farm products was down 2.9% on lower activity at oilseed and grain dealers.

Construction sector declines as Quebec workers go on strike

Construction was down 0.6% in May, as a strike in the last week of the month affected unionized construction workers in Quebec. The strike largely contributed to the declines in non-residential building (-1.8%) and residential (-0.8%) construction. Engineering and other construction activities contracted 0.9% after rising the previous three months. Repair construction grew 1.6%—the largest increase since November 2016.

Real estate and rental and leasing declines

Real estate and rental and leasing declined 0.2% in May after five consecutive months of growth. Following a 0.6% decline in April, activity at offices of real estate agents and brokers declined 6.3% in May as housing resale activity slowed in the Greater Toronto Area following new provincial housing regulations introduced on April 20th.

The decline in real estate activity had an impact on legal services, which fell 2.9%. As a sector, professional, scientific and technical services edged up 0.2% as the decrease in legal services was more than offset by increases in all other industries.

Other industries

Utilities (+1.4%) increased for the third month in a row in May, on higher electric power generation, transmission and distribution (+1.2%) and natural gas distribution (+3.5%).

Arts, entertainment and recreation declined 3.5%, more than offsetting the 2.8% gain in April, as all subsectors were down. Output in performing arts, spectator sports and related industries, and heritage institutions returned to March's level following increased activity in April—primarily attributable to the number of Canadian teams involved in the early rounds of the National Hockey League playoffs.

Transportation and warehousing edged up 0.1%. Pipeline transportation rose on higher shipments of crude oil and natural gas. The output of postal service and couriers and messengers rose after three months of declines. These increases were mostly offset by the third decline in four months in rail transportation (on lower freight of most commodities) and a decline in air transportation.

The public sector (education, health care and public administration) was unchanged in May.

Accommodation and food services declined 0.3%. Food services and drinking places were down while accommodation services edged up.

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

Telling Canada's story in numbers; #ByTheNumbers

In celebration of the country's 150th birthday, Statistics Canada is presenting snapshots from our rich statistical history.

Today we look at the economic impact of the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire.

On May 1, 2016, a wildfire broke out southwest of Fort McMurray and spread rapidly in the following days, forcing the largest evacuation in Alberta's history. Emergency services evacuated more than 88,000 people as the fire spread to nearly 589 000 hectares—an area nearly the size of Prince Edward Island. Over 3,000 dwellings and businesses were damaged or destroyed. The fire was the most expensive natural disaster in Canadian history for insurance providers.

The wildfire was a significant factor in real gross domestic product (GDP) decreasing 0.6% in May 2016, one of the largest monthly declines in 20 years. Most of the decline was attributable to a 23% drop in the output of the non-conventional oil extraction industry, whose geographic proximity to the fires forced the cessation of activities at numerous facilities—leading to the lowest level of output since May 2011. The lower output in non-conventional oil extraction largely accounted for production declines at petroleum refineries in Western Canada. Pipeline transportation decreased as the flow of crude petroleum feedstock slowed, with petroleum refineries receiving the lowest level of domestic crude since 1973. In June, GDP essentially rebounded from the decline in May and the output level of non-conventional oil extraction facilities returned to pre-wildfire levels by July. For 2016 as a whole, non-conventional oil and gas extraction in Alberta rose 1.0%, the smallest increase since 2008.

For additional information, refer to the Fort McMurray 2016 Wildfire—Economic Impact Infographic.

  Note to readers

Monthly gross domestic product (GDP) by industry data at basic prices are chained volume estimates with 2007 as the reference year. This means that data for each industry and each aggregate are obtained from a chained volume index, multiplied by the industry's value added in 2007. Monthly data are benchmarked to annually chained Fisher volume indexes of GDP obtained from the constant-price supply and use tables (SUT) up to the latest SUT year (2013).

For the period starting with January 2014, data are derived by chaining a fixed-weight Laspeyres volume index to the prior period. The fixed weights are 2013 industry prices.

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

All data in this release are seasonally adjusted. For information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

For more information on GDP, see the video What is Gross Domestic Product (GDP)?


With this release of monthly GDP by industry, revisions have been made back to January 2016.

Each month, newly available administrative and survey data from various industries in the economy are integrated and result in statistical revisions. Updated and revised administrative data (including taxation statistics), new information provided by respondents to industry surveys, and standard changes to seasonal adjustment calculations are incorporated with each release.

Real-time CANSIM tables

Real-time CANSIM table 379-8031 will be updated on August 14. For more information, consult the document Real-time CANSIM tables.

Next release

Data on GDP by industry for June will be released on August 31.


For more information about monthly national GDP by industry, see the System of Macroeconomic Accounts module on our website.

The User Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-606-G) is also available.

The Methodological Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-607-X) is also available.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Allan Tomas (613-790-6570), Industry Accounts Division.

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