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Monthly Survey of Manufacturing, August 2017

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Released: 2017-10-18

Manufacturing sales increased 1.6% to $53.5 billion in August, following two consecutive monthly declines. The gain was mainly attributable to higher sales in the transportation equipment, and petroleum and coal product industries.

Sales were up in 8 of the 21 industries, representing 66% of the Canadian manufacturing sector.

Once price changes are taken into account, sales volume in the manufacturing sector rose 1.2% in August.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Manufacturing sales rise
Manufacturing sales rise

The transportation equipment and petroleum and coal product industries post the largest gains

Sales in the transportation equipment industry rose 8.2% to $10.4 billion, after falling 13.6% in July. This growth was the result of gains in the motor vehicle (+12.9%) and motor vehicle parts (+5.7%) industries, primarily reflecting higher volumes generated by increased production after the longer-than-usual shutdowns of motor vehicle assembly plants in July. In constant dollars, sales volumes rose 13.3% in the motor vehicle and 5.8% in the motor vehicle parts industries in August.

Sales in the petroleum and coal product industry increased 3.2% to $4.8 billion in August—a second consecutive monthly gain. The increase primarily reflected higher prices for petroleum and coal products. After removing the effect of price changes, sales volumes decreased 1.3% in August.

Sales were also up in the primary metal (+3.1%), machinery (+4.0%), beverage and tobacco product (+4.2%) and wood product (+1.6%) industries. These gains were widespread and were the result of higher volumes in these industries.

Higher sales in current dollars were partially offset by decreases in the chemical (-3.6%) and computer and electronic product (-6.5%) industries. In constant dollars, sales fell 3.9% in the chemical and 6.5% in the computer and electronic product industries, indicating that a lower volume of goods sold was behind these declines.

Sales up in eight provinces

Sales increased in eight provinces in August, led by Ontario and Alberta, while Manitoba and Nova Scotia reported declines.

After two consecutive months of declines, sales in Ontario rose 2.8% in August to $24.9 billion, primarily due to a 10.4% gain in the transportation equipment industry. The petroleum and coal product and machinery industries also reported higher sales.

In Alberta, sales were up 1.2% to $5.8 billion, following two monthly decreases. Increases were recorded in 13 of the 21 industries. The petroleum and coal product (+4.4%) and the fabricated metal product (+6.9%) industries were largely responsible for the gain in this province.

The largest monthly decrease was in Manitoba, where sales fell 1.5% to $1.5 billion in August. This was the second consecutive monthly decline and was largely due to lower sales of non-durable goods.

Inventories are unchanged

Inventories in the manufacturing sector were steady at $73.9 billion in August, with higher inventories in the machinery industry offset by lower inventories in the petroleum and coal product industry.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Inventory levels are unchanged
Inventory levels are unchanged

The inventory-to-sales ratio fell from 1.40 in July to 1.38 in August. The inventory-to-sales ratio measures the time, in months, that would be required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level.

Chart 3  Chart 3: The inventory-to-sales ratio declines
The inventory-to-sales ratio declines

Unfilled orders are unchanged

Total unfilled orders for the manufacturing sector were unchanged at $86.2 billion in August. More unfilled orders in the aerospace product and parts, and the electrical equipment, appliance and component industries were offset by fewer unfilled orders in the computer and electronic product and machinery industries.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Unfilled orders are unchanged
Unfilled orders are unchanged

New orders rose 4.4% to $53.6 billion in August, following three consecutive monthly declines. The gain was mostly attributable to more new orders in the transportation equipment; electronic equipment, appliances and components; and the petroleum and coal product industries.

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.

History of the Canadian textile industry

This is a retrospective of establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing both fabrics and textile products, except knitted clothing (North American Industrial Classification System 313).

The first complete industrial system for manufacturing wool fabric was established in 1826, when Mahlon Willett opened a plant in Acadia, Lower Canada.

Toward the end of the Second World War (1944), the textile industry started to gain prominence with sustained growth in sales, which peaked at $4.4 billion in 1980. Progressive declines brought sales down to $2.8 billion in 1993, followed by progressive gains to $4.2 billion in 2002.

After a period of adjustments and restructuring following the trade liberalization resulting from the free trade agreement with the United States and later from the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico, sales in the fabric and textile product industry were marked by an increase in exports, primarily to the United States.

By 2016, the number of people employed in the textile industry was down 68.0% compared with 2002. Over the same period, the value of sales fell 62.8% to $1.6 billion.

Chart 5  Chart 5: Evolution of textile industry sales from 1917 to 2016
Evolution of textile industry sales from 1917 to 2016

  Note to readers

Monthly data in this release are seasonally adjusted and are expressed in current dollars unless otherwise specified.

For information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions. For information on trend-cycle data, see Trend-cycle estimates – Frequently asked questions.

Non-durable goods industries include food, beverage and tobacco products, textile mills, textile product mills, clothing, leather and allied products, paper, printing and related support activities, petroleum and coal products, chemicals, and plastics and rubber products.

Durable goods industries include wood products, non-metallic mineral products, primary metals, fabricated metal products, machinery, computer and electronic products, electrical equipment, appliances and components, transportation equipment, furniture and related products, and miscellaneous manufacturing.

Production-based industries

For the aerospace and shipbuilding industries, the value of production is used instead of the value of sales of goods manufactured. The value of production is calculated by adjusting monthly sales of goods manufactured by the monthly change in inventories of goods in process and finished products manufactured. The value of production is used because of the extended period of time that it normally takes to manufacture products in these industries.

Unfilled orders are a stock of orders that will contribute to future sales, assuming that the orders are not cancelled.

New orders are those received, whether sold in the current month or not. New orders are measured as the sum of sales for the current month plus the change in unfilled orders from the previous month to the current month.

Manufacturers reporting in US dollars

Some Canadian manufacturers report sales, inventories and unfilled orders in US dollars. These data are then converted to Canadian dollars as part of the data production cycle.

For sales, based on the assumption that they occur throughout the month, the average monthly exchange rate for the reference month (noon spot rate) established by the Bank of Canada is used for the conversion. The monthly average exchange rate is available in CANSIM table 176-0081. Inventories and unfilled orders are reported at the end of the reference period. For most respondents, the noon spot exchange rate on the last working day of the month is used for the conversion of these variables.

However, some manufacturers choose to report their data as of a day other than the last day of the month. In these instances, the noon spot exchange rate on the day selected by the respondent is used. Note that because of exchange rate fluctuations, the noon spot exchange rate on the day selected by the respondent can differ from both the exchange rate on the last working day of the month and the monthly average exchange rate. Noon spot exchange rate data are available in CANSIM table 176-0080.

Revision policy

Each month, the Monthly Survey of Manufacturing releases preliminary data for the reference month and revised data for the three previous months. Revisions are made to reflect new information provided by respondents and updates to administrative data.

Once a year, a revision project is undertaken to revise multiple years of data. Statistics Canada released revised monthly manufacturing data on September 19, 2017, in accordance with standard practices. Sales of goods manufactured, inventories and orders in current dollars were revised back to January 2014 for unadjusted data and to January 2012 for seasonally adjusted and constant dollar data.

Real-time CANSIM tables

Real-time CANSIM tables 304-8014, 304-8015 and 377-8009 will be updated on October 30. For more information, consult the document Real-time CANSIM tables.

Next release

Data from the Monthly Survey of Manufacturing for September will be released on November 16.

Contact information

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

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Bechir Oueriemmi (613-951-7938; or Michael Schimpf (613-863-4480;, Manufacturing and Wholesale Trade Division.

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