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Gross domestic product by industry, October 2018

Released: 2018-12-21

Real GDP by industry

October 2018

0.3% increase

(monthly change)

Real gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 0.3% in October, following a 0.1% decrease in September. There was growth in 15 of 20 industrial sectors, led by increases in manufacturing, finance and insurance and wholesale trade.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Real gross domestic product increases in October
Real gross domestic product increases in October

The rise in manufacturing was the main reason for the 0.3% increase in goods-producing industries after two monthly declines. Services-producing industries grew 0.3%, their strongest increase since May 2018, on widespread growth across sectors.

Manufacturing rises as majority of subsectors expand

The manufacturing sector expanded 0.7% in October, almost fully offsetting the declines in August and September. Both durable (+0.9%) and non-durable (+0.4%) manufacturing increased. The increased output in October partly reflected increased inventories.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Manufacturing sector grows in October
Manufacturing sector grows in October

There was growth in 6 of 10 subsectors in durable manufacturing. Contributing the most to growth were increases in machinery (+5.5%) and primary metal (+3.1%) manufacturing, offsetting two consecutive monthly declines in both subsectors. Wood products manufacturing was down 6.7% in October, the largest monthly decline in over nine years, as British Columbia wildfires along with timber supply shortages adversely affected the subsector.

There was also growth in five of nine subsectors in non-durable manufacturing in October. There were notable increases in chemical (+2.3%) and food (+1.9%) manufacturing. The paper subsector registered a 5.8% decline. Decreases in the output of all types of beverages were behind the 3.6% decline in beverage and tobacco.

The finance and insurance sector rises as bond and equity markets grow on higher market activity

The finance and insurance sector rose 0.9% in October, more than offsetting the 0.2% decline in September. Increased activity in bond and money markets and unseasonal stock market activity were factors in the growth of financial investment services, funds and other financial vehicles (+4.0%), as well as depository and credit intermediation services (+1.0%). The S&P/TSX Composite Index was down 6.5% on a month-to-month basis in October, but the volume of transactions was the highest since March 2016. Insurance carriers and related activities were down for the fifth month in a row, declining 0.5%.

Wholesale trade offsets September's decline

The wholesale trade sector rose 1.0% in October, more than offsetting September's decline, as its nine subsectors were relatively evenly split between growths and declines.

Machinery, equipment and supplies wholesaling led the growth with a 2.7% increase as all industries expanded. Personal and household goods wholesaling rose 2.8%, largely due to growth in pharmaceutical wholesaling. The largest decline in terms of activity was by wholesalers of building materials and supplies (-2.0%).

Utilities up due to snow in Alberta, cooler temperatures

Utilities were up 1.5% in October, the third increase in four months. Electric power generation, transmission and distribution increased 1.8% as a record-level snowfall for October in Alberta, along with cooler temperatures in most of Canada, contributed to higher electricity demand for heating purposes. Natural gas distribution was up 0.9%, increasing for the fifth consecutive month.

Oil and gas extraction up, while the rest of mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction sector down

The mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction sector edged up 0.2% in October as growth in oil and gas extraction was mostly offset by declines in other subsectors.

Oil and gas extraction increased 3.6% in October. Non-conventional oil extraction was up 5.4% as facilities that had experienced production difficulties and maintenance shutdowns in recent months were closer to full capacity, resulting in production levels near all-time highs. Conventional oil and gas extraction rose 1.9%, with both oil and natural gas extraction increasing. The rise in conventional oil extraction comes mainly as a result of higher output in Newfoundland and Labrador, following maintenance shutdowns at some facilities in September.

The mining excluding oil and gas extraction subsector decreased 4.3% in October as the majority of industries decreased. Following a 4.1% contraction in September, non-metallic minerals mining was down 7.2% in October, largely due to a decline in potash mining. Metal ore mining declined 2.1% with all industries decreasing except for copper, nickel, lead and zinc mining. Coal mining was down 2.2% following three months of growth.

Support activities for mining and oil and gas extraction declined 5.6% in October, down for a sixth consecutive month, mainly due to lower activity by drilling services.

Retail trade edges up

Retail trade edged up 0.1% in October as 6 of 12 subsectors grew. The retail trade data in this release do not include the activity of cannabis retailers, who began to operate following the legalization of retail sales of cannabis for recreational purposes on October 17, 2018.

Motor vehicle and parts dealers (+1.1%) and gasoline stations (+2.6%) led the gains in October, while there were notable declines at general merchandise stores (-1.5%) and furniture and home furnishings stores (-2.5%).

Construction activity continues to cool

The construction sector declined for the fifth consecutive month in October, edging down 0.1%. Residential construction decreased 0.5% as growth in new housing was more than offset by a decline in housing alterations and improvements. Non-residential construction edged down 0.1% as growth in industrial and public construction was offset by commercial and other non-residential construction. Engineering and other construction activities rose 0.4%, while repair construction edged down 0.1%.

Other industries

Real estate, rental and leasing grew 0.2%. Activity at offices of real estate agents and brokers decreased 1.7% in October following four months of growth, as housing resale activity decreased in the majority of Canadian markets.

The public sector edged up 0.1%, with all three components (education, health care and public administration) increasing.

Transportation and warehousing was down 0.3%. Rail transportation declined 2.9% while postal service and couriers and messengers were down 2.3%, due in part to rotating strikes at Canada Post. Pipeline transportation declined 1.2%, driven by the lower movement of natural gas (-1.6%) and crude oil and other pipeline transportation (-0.9%). There were gains in air (+0.5%) and water (+1.3%) transportation.

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (-1.1%) decreased for the third time in four months, in part reflecting lower forestry activity as a result of wildfires in British Columbia.

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

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

Effective October 17, 2018, it became legal to sell cannabis for non-medical purposes in Canada. Estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) by industry will begin to reflect this activity and the legal production of cannabis, as well as the illegal production and sale of cannabis, with the December 2018 release on March 1, 2019. For more information, please consult the article "Integrating the production, distribution and consumption of cannabis in the Canadian national economic accounts."

The monthly GDP by industry data at basic prices are chained volume estimates with 2012 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 2012. The 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 (2015).

For the period starting with January 2016, data are derived by chaining a fixed-weight Laspeyres volume index to the prior period. The fixed weights are 2015 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 2018.

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 table

Real-time table 36-10-0491 will be updated on January 14, 2019.

Next release

Data on GDP by industry for November 2018 will be released on January 31, 2019.


For more information about monthly national gross domestic product 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 Ederne Victor (613-863-6876), Industry Accounts Division.

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