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Gross domestic product by industry, September 2019

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Released: 2019-11-29

Real GDP by industry

September 2019

0.1% increase

(monthly change)

Real gross domestic product edged up 0.1% in September, with the increase in services (+0.2%) slightly outpacing the increase in goods (+0.1%). There were gains in 13 of 20 industrial sectors, with increases in wholesale trade and construction offset in part by lower activity in rail transportation.

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

Wholesale trade resumes growth

A 0.9% gain in the wholesale trade sector in September largely offset the 1.2% contraction in August. There were increases in six of the nine subsectors, led by a 3.1% rise in the wholesaling of machinery, equipment and supplies. Personal and household goods wholesaling (+1.2%) and miscellaneous wholesaling (+1.7%) posted notable increases, while lower imports of passenger cars, light trucks and motor vehicle parts contributed to a 1.3% decline in motor vehicle and parts wholesaling.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Wholesale trade grows in September
Wholesale trade grows in September

Construction grows on all fronts

The construction sector was up 0.6% in September with increases in all of its subsectors. Residential construction rose 1.0%, fully offsetting the declines of the previous two months, as growth in home alterations and improvements along with multi-unit dwellings construction more than offset lower construction of single, double and row-housing units. Non-residential construction grew 0.5%, led by an increase in industrial and commercial construction. Repair construction increased 0.5%, while engineering and other construction was up 0.2%.

Mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction edges up

The mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction sector edged up 0.2% in September. Oil and gas extraction increased 0.4%, following two months of decline. Oil and gas extraction (except oil sands) decreased 0.4% as a decline in natural gas extraction more than offset an increase in crude petroleum extraction. Oil sands extraction rose 1.1% on account of higher crude bitumen extraction. Supporting activities for mining, oil and gas extraction increased 4.1% from higher rigging services.

Mining and quarrying (excluding oil and gas) decreased 2.1% in September. Non-metallic mineral mining was down 9.1% as potash mining declined in response to lower demand from Asian markets. Coal mining decreased 8.8%, the third decline in four months. Metal ore mining rose 3.1% from a 17.3% increase in copper, nickel, lead and zinc mining, which more than compensated for three months of declines. Iron ore mining was down 9.9% as there were fewer exports to the Netherlands, the commodity's main destination.

Early snow, weaker international trade stalls rail transportation

The trade-related declines in the production of potash and iron ore were a factor in the 7.2% decrease in rail transportation. Another factor was the delayed harvest of grains and oilseeds in the Prairies as the first days of autumn saw a significant amount of snow, essentially bringing the harvest to a halt. As the month closed, only a fraction of the harvest was completed in comparison with previous years. Farm products wholesaling declined 8.6% in September as a result, reflecting lower exports of the commodities.

Transportation and warehousing continues to decline

For the first time in over a decade, the transportation and warehousing sector was down for a fourth consecutive month, decreasing 0.9% in September as six of nine subsectors contracted. Besides rail transportation, pipeline transportation was down 1.2%, the third decline in four months, with decreases in transportation of both natural gas and crude oil. Water transportation contracted 3.7%, following two months of growth, while air transportation rose 1.0% after three straight declines.

Manufacturing edges down

The manufacturing sector contracted 0.2% in September, the third decrease in four months, as growth of 0.3% in durable manufacturing was offset by a 0.7% decline in non-durable manufacturing.

The rise in durable manufacturing was led by an increase in machinery manufacturing (+3.3%) and the first increases in furniture and related products (+8.0%) and primary metal (+2.6%) in four months. The 0.6% decline in transportation equipment came mainly from lower activity at manufacturers of motor vehicle parts as some parts plants in Canada were impacted by the United Auto Workers strike in the United States and had to scale back production towards the end of September. The decline in non-durable manufacturing came mainly from the chemical (-3.7%), paper (-3.4%) and printing and related support activities (-5.8%) subsectors.

Other industries

Activity at the offices of real estate agents and brokers was up 1.2% in September, rising for the seventh consecutive month, mainly due to higher housing resale activity in the Greater Vancouver Area and the Fraser Valley.

The 0.8% growth in legal, accounting and related services, which derive some of their activity from real estate transactions, contributed to the 0.4% rise in professional and technical services. The computer systems design and related services industry (+0.8%) continued its unabated growth of the past three years.

Retail trade was unchanged in September. Growth in four subsectors, led by building materials and garden supplies dealers (+3.2%), offset declines in the remaining eight subsectors, including a 0.9% decrease at motor vehicle and parts dealers.

Utilities decreased 0.5% in September, as natural gas distribution declined 4.1%, while electric power generation, transmission and distribution was unchanged.

The finance and insurance sector was down 0.2% in September following six months of growth. Financial investment services, funds and other financial vehicles (-2.3%) gave back most of August's growth that was related to an increased volume of transactions reflecting global trade tensions. Insurance carriers and related activities were down 0.8%, while depository credit intermediation and monetary authorities were up 0.6%.

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting was down 0.4% in September from a third consecutive decline in forestry and logging.

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

Third quarter of 2019

The value added of goods-producing industries was down 0.3% in the third quarter, the third decline in four quarters. Services-producing industries rose 0.7%. Overall, there were gains in 15 of 20 industrial sectors, 13 of which came from services-producing industries.

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (-4.0%) contributed the most to the decline in goods-producing industries as all subsectors contracted. Oil and gas extraction was down 4.3%, the largest decline since the second quarter of 2016, due in part to shutdowns and maintenance at some offshore production facilities. Oil sands extraction and oil and gas extraction (except oil sands) were both down. Mining and quarrying (excluding oil and gas) was down 1.3%, as non-metallic minerals mining (-2.4%) decreased for the fourth quarter in a row, while metal ore mining was down 1.0% on lower mining of copper, nickel, lead and zinc. Support activities for mining, and oil and gas extraction were down 7.7% from the second quarter of 2019 and 37% since the second quarter of 2018.

Construction was up 1.8%, the largest quarterly gain since the fourth quarter of 2017, with growth in all types of construction. Engineering and other construction (+2.7%) contributed the most to the increase, posting its strongest growth in seven quarters. Residential construction was up 1.7% from increases in single, double and apartment-type dwellings. Non-residential construction rose 1.3% as activity in commercial and public sectors construction increased. Repair construction was up 0.4%.

The manufacturing sector decreased 0.4%, the third decline in four quarters. Non-durable manufacturing was down 1.0%, the fourth consecutive quarterly decline. There were notable decreases in chemical (-4.9%) and paper (-3.4%) manufacturing, while petroleum and coal products posted a 3.0% rise. Durable manufacturing was essentially unchanged as declines in 7 of 10 subsectors were offset by increases in transportation equipment (+3.2%) and machinery (+3.6%).

Among the services-producing industries, the largest contributor to growth was in real estate and rental and leasing services (+1.0%). Offices of real estate agents and brokers were up 8.4% as housing resale activity increased nationally. Professional services increased 1.8% in the quarter as all subsectors were up, led by computer systems design (+2.5%) and legal services (+3.0%).

The public sector was up 0.6%, mainly from a 1.2% rise in health care and social assistance, while public administration edged up 0.1%, its smallest increase since the fourth quarter of 2016.

Finance and insurance was up 1.0%, with similar increases in all three subsectors. Wholesale trade was up 0.6%, led by gains in personal and household goods (+3.7%) and miscellaneous wholesaling (+3.7%). Retail trade was up 0.5%, the strongest growth since the third quarter of 2018, as the majority of subsectors increased.

The transportation and warehousing sector was down 0.9% in the third quarter. Truck transportation (-2.2%) and rail transportation (-3.9%) were down, due in part to lower activity in goods production.

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 sustainable development goals. This release will be used in helping to measure the following goal:

  Note to readers

Monthly data on gross domestic product (GDP) by industry 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 (2016).

For the period starting in January 2017, data are derived by chaining a fixed-weight Laspeyres volume index to the prior period. The fixed weights are 2016 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 1997.

Each month, newly available administrative and survey data from various industries in the economy are integrated, and this results 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 December 16.

Next release

Data on GDP by industry for October will be released on December 23.


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

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

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

Contact information

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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