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Gross domestic product by industry, March 2019

Released: 2019-05-31

Real GDP by industry

March 2019

0.5% increase

(monthly change)

Following a 0.2% decline in February, gross domestic product increased 0.5% in March. Goods-producing industries were up 0.7%, offsetting most of the decline in February, while services-producing industries (+0.4%) posted their strongest increase since May 2018. There were gains in 16 of the 20 industrial sectors.

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

Manufacturing bounces back

The manufacturing sector increased 0.9% in March, offsetting the decline in February, as both durable and non-durable manufacturing rose.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Manufacturing sector bounces back in March
Manufacturing sector bounces back in March

Durable manufacturing was up 1.3% as 7 of 10 subsectors increased. Transportation equipment (+1.7%) and fabricated metal products (+2.7%) manufacturing led the growth. Most industry groups in the two subsectors posted gains.

Non-durable manufacturing rose 0.6%, as increases in three subsectors more than offset declines in the other six. Chemical manufacturing (+3.9%) posted the largest gain, mainly from increased activity by pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturers, followed by print and related supplies manufacturing (+9.8%). The largest decrease was in plastics and rubber products manufacturing (-2.8%).

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction grows for the first time in seven months

Following six consecutive monthly declines, the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector increased 2.0% in March.

The increase was led by oil and gas extraction (+3.3%), as the Government of Alberta has been gradually easing oil production cuts that took effect in January. Oil sands extraction increased 3.8% following declines the previous four months. Oil and gas extraction (except oil sands) was up 2.8% as both natural gas and crude petroleum extraction rose.

Mining and quarrying (excluding oil and gas) was up 1.6%, a partial recovery following declines in January and February. Metal ore mining rose 5.4%, as output of all types of metals increased. Non-metallic mineral mining was down 2.6%, with a 6.9% decline in potash mining contributing the most to the decrease. Coal mining (-0.3%) declined slightly.

Support activities for mining, oil and gas extraction decreased 3.9%, the fourth consecutive monthly decline, as rigging and drilling activities were both down.

Transportation and warehousing resumes growth

Following a 1.3% decline in February, strongly influenced by cold weather and heavy snowfalls curtailing rail transportation, transportation and warehousing rose 1.4% in March with most subsectors increasing. Rail transportation was up 4.9%, a partial recovery from the 10.6% decline in February as weather conditions improved and the rail line through the Canadian Rockies was operational after being closed for part of February due to a train derailment. Support activities for transportation (+2.4%) and truck transportation (+1.5%) also had notable increases.

Finance and insurance rebounds in March

The finance and insurance sector increased 0.9% in March, fully offsetting the decline in February. Following lower activity in February, issuance of new securities and trading in bond and money markets increased in March. This contributed to increases in financial investment services, funds and other financial vehicles (+3.3%) and credit intermediation and monetary authorities (+0.7%). Insurance carriers and related activities were essentially unchanged.

Wholesale and retail trade up

Wholesale trade was up for the third consecutive month, rising 1.1% in March. Six of nine subsectors increased, led by machinery, equipment and supplies (+2.5%) and building materials and supplies (+3.4%) wholesalers.

Retail trade rose 0.4%, as 5 of 12 subsectors increased. The largest gains were in building materials and garden equipment and supplies dealers (+3.9%) and clothing and clothing accessories stores (+2.8%).

Utilities decline as temperatures return to seasonal levels

Following 2.0% growth in February to meet increased demand for heating due to colder-than-usual temperatures, the utilities sector contracted 1.8% in March as temperatures across the country returned to more seasonal levels. Both electric power generation, transmission and distribution (-2.0%) and natural gas distribution (-1.5%) declined.

Other industries

Real estate, rental and leasing increased 0.3%. After declining in February, activity at offices of real estate agents and brokers was up 2.6% in March, with increased activity in most metropolitan markets.

The public sector was up 0.2%, with all three components (education, health care and public administration) rising.

Construction rose 0.5% in March, as all subsectors increased. Repair construction (+1.2%) and engineering and other construction activities (+0.5%) contributed the most to the gain. Residential construction was up 0.3%, led by gains in home alterations and improvements. Non-residential construction edged up 0.1%, as growth in industrial construction offset declines in public and commercial construction.

Professional, scientific and technical services rose 0.5% in March with gains in most industry groups.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Main industrial sectors' contribution to the percentage change in gross domestic product in March
Main industrial sectors' contribution to the percentage change in gross domestic product in March

First quarter of 2019

The value added of goods-producing industries was down for the third consecutive quarter, declining 0.6% in the first quarter. The output of services-producing industries rose 0.4%, the lowest growth since the first quarter of 2018. There were gains in 16 of 20 industrial sectors.

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (-4.1%) was the main contributor to the decline in goods-producing industries, as all subsectors declined. Temporary oil production cuts introduced by the Government of Alberta contributed to lower support activities for mining and oil and gas extraction (-14.9%) and oil and gas extraction (-1.6%). Mining and quarrying (excluding oil and gas) was down 3.9% on lower output of metal ores and non-metallic minerals. Construction was down 0.5%, continuing the downward trend that started at the beginning of 2018, on lower residential construction (-1.1%) and engineering and other construction (-1.3%) activities.

Manufacturing increased 0.6%, more than offsetting the decline in the previous quarter, as durable manufacturing rose 1.2% while non-durable manufacturing edged down 0.1%. In durable manufacturing, most subsectors increased, led by machinery (+3.0%) and transportation equipment (+0.8%). In non-durable manufacturing, declines in three subsectors offset increases in the other six. The largest increases were in beverage and tobacco (+7.2%) and food (+0.9%) manufacturing, while the largest declines were in petroleum and coal products (-5.2%) and chemical (-2.0%) manufacturing.

Utilities (+0.2%) and agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (+0.2%) edged up.

Among services-producing industries, the largest growth was in real estate and rental and leasing services (+0.5%). Professional, scientific and technical services increased 1.0%, as most industry groups in the sector grew. The public sector was up 0.5%, with all three components (education, health care and public administration) rising. Wholesale trade increased 0.4%, the largest gain since the fourth quarter of 2017, while retail trade edged up 0.2%. The finance and insurance sector was essentially unchanged.

Transportation and warehousing (-0.2%) edged down for the second consecutive quarter, largely due to a 3.2% decline in rail transportation, as cold and snowy weather throughout most of the quarter and a train derailment in February led to difficulties in moving goods by rail.



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

The monthly gross domestic product (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)?"

Revisions

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 36-10-0491-01 will be updated on June 10.

Next release

Data on GDP by industry for April will be released on June 28.

Products

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; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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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