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Gross domestic product by industry, December 2017

Released: 2018-03-02

Real GDP by industry

December 2017

0.1% increase

(monthly change)

Real gross domestic product (GDP) edged up 0.1% in December as 13 of 20 industrial sectors increased. This followed a 0.4% gain in November.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Real gross domestic product edges up in December
Real gross domestic product edges up in December

The output of service-producing industries edged up 0.1% in December, as increases in real estate and rental and leasing, the public sector and finance and insurance more than offset declines in wholesale and retail trade. The output of service-producing industries rose every month in 2017.

Goods-producing industries edged down 0.1% in December, following 1.0% growth in November. Declines in the manufacturing and construction sectors more than offset higher output from mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction.

Real estate and rental and leasing leads growth

Real estate and rental and leasing rose 0.5% in December, its highest monthly growth since March 2017.

The output of offices of real estate agents and brokers was up 5.9% in December, its largest monthly increase since June 2009. Home resale activity was up in most major Canadian markets. This came on the eve of the implementation of new mortgage rules, including stress-testing for uninsured mortgages, in January 2018.

The increased activity in real estate contributed to the 0.3% rise in professional services, as legal, accounting and related services increased 1.3%.

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction increases

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction increased 0.6% in December, rising for a second consecutive month after declining four of the previous five months.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction increases in December
Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction increases in December

The oil and gas extraction subsector was up 1.4%, led by a 4.6% gain in non-conventional oil extraction. A ramp-up in production continued in the industry following maintenance turnaround and capacity expansion at some facilities in the second half of 2017. Conventional oil and gas extraction was down 1.3%.

Mining excluding oil and gas extraction was down 1.8%, a third consecutive monthly decline after rising the six previous months. Metal ore mining was down 3.2% as every industry group declined except other metal ore mining (+1.6%). Non-metallic mineral mining contracted 0.9%, largely due to a 2.6% drop in potash mining. Coal mining grew 6.1% in December after three months of decline.

Support activities for mining and oil and gas extraction fell 1.8%. This was an eighth consecutive decline for the subsector after a string of increases that began in the spring of 2016 and ended in April 2017.

Finance and insurance continues to grow

The finance and insurance sector rose 0.5% in December. Financial investment services, funds and other financial vehicles were up 2.3% as financial market activity increased. Depository credit intermediation and monetary authorities edged up 0.2%, while insurance carriers and related activities grew 0.3%

Public sector up as Ontario community college strike ends

The public sector grew 0.2% in December as educational services rose 0.6%. Community colleges and CEGEPs grew 5.2% following a return to classes for Ontario community college students. A five-week strike by faculty staff ended on November 19, 2017, with the government of Ontario passing back-to-work legislation.

Health care and social assistance was up 0.3% while public administration edged down 0.1%.

Manufacturing declines, following strong November

The manufacturing sector contracted 0.7% in December, giving back part of November's gains which reflected in part restored production capacity. Both non-durable and durable manufacturing declined.

Non-durable manufacturing contracted 0.9% as six of nine subsectors were down. The chemical manufacturing subsector declined 2.2% on lower output by manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and medicine and pesticide, fertilizer and other agricultural chemicals.

Food manufacturing (-1.3%) and printing and related support activities (-5.5%) were down while plastic and rubber products (+1.5%) and paper manufacturing (+1.8%) increased.

Durable manufacturing contracted 0.5% in December as 6 of 10 subsectors decreased. Transportation equipment declined 1.4%, as most industry groups decreased. Machinery (-1.6%) and primary metal (-1.6%) manufacturing was down, while there were gains in miscellaneous (+8.8%) and computer and electronic product (+4.0%) manufacturing.

Retail and wholesale trade decline

Retail trade contracted 0.9% in December as 8 of 12 subsectors declined. Retail activity at stores typically associated with holiday shopping was down, led by general merchandise (-4.9%), clothing and clothing accessories (-3.6%) and electronic and appliance (-3.2%) stores. These store types reported higher sales in November partly as a result of promotional events such as Black Friday combined with new product releases. There were also gains in December by food and beverage stores (+1.9%) and motor vehicle and parts dealers (+1.7%) on account of higher activities at new car dealers.

The wholesale trade sector (-0.7%) was down for the third time in 12 months in December, as six of nine subsectors contracted. Personal and household goods wholesaling (-3.1%) contributed the most to the decline. Miscellaneous wholesalers (-2.4%) registered their third decline in four months. Motor vehicle and parts wholesaling was down 2.5%, the largest decline in more than a year. Building materials and supplies (+3.0%) and machinery, equipment and supplies (+0.8%) wholesaling increased.

Construction down for the second time in 12 months

After six consecutive months of growth, the construction sector contracted 0.3% in December. Residential construction was down 0.7% as declines in double-type dwelling units and alterations and improvements more than offset growth in single, row and apartment-type dwelling units. Repair construction declined 1.0%, down for the second time in three months, while engineering and other construction activities was essentially unchanged.

For the seventh month in a row, non-residential construction was up as industrial, public and commercial construction all grew.

Other industries

Transportation and warehousing grew 0.2% as five of nine subsectors increased. Rail transportation was up 2.4% as movement of coal, grain and fertilizer, forest products and intermodal freight by rail increased. Pipeline transportation grew 0.6% as crude oil and other pipeline transportation was up 3.3%, regaining part of the decline in November that was influenced by a pipeline leak in the United States. Pipeline transportation of natural gas was down 2.1%. Truck transportation (-0.7%) declined for the second time in three months.

Utilities were up 0.6% in December. Electric power generation, transmission and distribution was up 0.5%, while natural gas distribution rose 2.0% on higher demand across all classes of customers. Temperatures in December were lower than usual east of Manitoba and warmer in the rest of the country.

Accommodation and food services were unchanged in December, as a slight decline in accommodation services (-0.2%) was offset by food services and drinking places edging up 0.1%.

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

Fourth quarter of 2017

The value added of goods-producing industries increased 0.5% in the fourth quarter, marking six consecutive quarters of growth, while service-producing industries rose 0.5%. Growth in both goods-producing and service-producing industries were extensive as almost all sectors recorded gains.

The main contributor to growth in the goods-producing industries was the construction sector (+1.5%), which rose for the fifth consecutive quarter. All components of the sector grew, led by engineering construction (+1.9%).

Manufacturing was up 0.5% as durable manufacturing rose 1.1% while non-durable manufacturing declined 0.3%. The rise in durable manufacturing was widespread across most subsectors, while the decline in non-durable manufacturing was influenced by a 3.8% decrease in the chemical subsector. Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction was unchanged as the increase in conventional oil and gas extraction (+2.1%) was offset by declines in mining except oil and gas extraction (-2.2%) and support activities for mining and oil and gas extraction (-6.4%). Utilities (-0.3%) and agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (-1.0%) declined.

In service-producing industries, real estate and rental and leasing rose 0.7% as activity by real estate agents and brokers was up 7.7%. Wholesale trade (+1.0%) rose for a fifth consecutive quarter, led by machinery, equipment, and supplies wholesaler-distributors (+2.4%). Retail trade rose 1.0% on higher activity at motor vehicle and parts dealers, building materials and garden equipment and supplies stores and electronics and appliance stores.

Professional, scientific and technical services (+0.8%), finance and insurance (+0.2%) and transport and warehousing (+0.4%) all increased in the fourth quarter. The public sector (education, health and public administration) grew 0.4%.

Annual 2017

Growth was widespread in 2017, with 18 of 20 industrial sectors increasing. Goods-producing industries rose 4.6% in 2017, more than offsetting the declines in 2015 (-1.7%) and 2016 (-0.5%). The value added of service-producing industries rose 2.8%, the highest growth rate since 2011.

The largest contributor to the increase in goods-producing industries was the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector, which rose 7.8%. Oil and gas extraction grew 6.3% while mining (except oil and gas) rose 2.9%. Support activities for mining, oil and gas extraction rose 37%, following declines of 34% in 2015 and 24% in 2016. Manufacturing was up 3.3%, as gains in non-durable manufacturing (+3.5%) outpaced those in durable manufacturing (+3.2%). Construction rose 3.9%, following declines of 4.6% in 2015 and 3.3% in 2016. Utilities rose 4.1%.

The value added of service-producing industries rose 2.8% in 2017, led by a 7.5% increase in the wholesale trade sector, with all subsectors recording increases above 3%. Real estate and rental and leasing was up 2.8%, Retail trade (+4.9%) posted its highest gains since 2013, in part from record sales for motor vehicles. Transportation and warehousing rose 4.8%, in part from higher growth in rail and truck transportation than in recent years. Growth in the finance and insurance sector (+2.7%) was the lowest since 2012. The public sector rose 1.7% with increases above 1% in all three components (educational services, health care and social assistance and public administration).

Sustainable Development Goals

On January 1, 2016, the world officially began implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—the United Nations' transformative plan of action that addresses urgent global challenges over the next 15 years. The plan is based on 17 specific sustainable development goals.

The release on gross domestic product by industry is an example of how Statistics Canada supports the reporting on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. This release will be used in helping to measure the following goal:

  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 (2014).

For the period starting with January 2015, data are derived by chaining a fixed-weight Laspeyres volume index to the prior period. The fixed weights are 2014 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 2017.

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 March 19. For more information, consult the document Real-time CANSIM tables.

Next release

Data on GDP by industry for January will be released on March 29.


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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