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Monthly Survey of Manufacturing, November 2019

Released: 2020-01-21

Manufacturing sales declined 0.6% to $57.0 billion in November, the third consecutive monthly decrease. Lower sales in the primary metal, chemical and food industries were partly offset by higher sales in the transportation and fabricated metal industries.

Sales were down in 11 of 21 industries, representing 55.0% of total manufacturing sales. Sales of non-durable goods fell 1.3% to $27.0 billion, while sales of durable goods were unchanged.

In volume terms, manufacturing sales decreased 0.8%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Manufacturing sales
Manufacturing sales

The primary metal industry posts the largest decline

Sales of primary metals were down 11.7% to $3.8 billion in November, the largest monthly decline since December 2008. Many establishments were impacted by the rail transportation disruptions for part of the month. In constant dollars, sales in the industry decreased 11.4%.

Following a 2.6% gain in October, chemical sales were down 3.6% to $4.5 billion. The decline was concentrated in pharmaceutical and medicine (-8.5%), resin, synthetic rubber, and artificial and synthetic fibres and filaments (-14.5%), and basic chemical (-7.0%) manufacturing. Constant dollar sales decreased 3.8%.

Food manufacturing sales declined 1.7% to $8.8 billion. Eight of the nine food industries decreased in November, led by seafood (-27.6%) and meat products (-4.2%). In constant dollars, volumes of food products sold fell 2.4%.

In the transportation equipment industry, sales rose 4.2% to $11.5 billion. Motor vehicle parts increased 8.8% in November as many establishments increased shipments, following labour disruptions in September and October. Production of aerospace product and parts increased 8.5% in November, as both sales and inventories were up.

Sales of fabricated metal products increased 4.7% to $3.5 billion following a 5.8% drop in October. Constant dollar sales were up 4.8%.

Sales decrease in eight provinces

Sales were down in eight provinces in November, led by Quebec, Alberta and New Brunswick. Ontario reported the largest monthly increase.

Sales in Quebec declined 1.6% to $14.1 billion, as 13 of 21 industries reported lower sales. The largest decreases were in food (-7.5%), primary metals (-7.5%) and machinery (-11.2%). Both durable and non-durable goods were lower in November.

Sales in New Brunswick fell 8.3% to $1.8 billion, mostly attributable to lower sales of non-durable goods.

In Alberta, sales decreased 2.6% to $6.1 billion, the fifth decline in six months. Sales decreased in 15 of 21 industries, with the largest decline in primary metals (-39.9%).

In Ontario, sales increased 1.4% to $26.2 billion following a 2.6% decline in October. Higher sales were reported in 12 of 21 industries, with the largest increases observed in transportation equipment (+4.1%), fabricated metal products (+12.8%) and plastics and rubber products (+9.6%). The largest declines were in the chemical (-5.1%) and primary metal (-7.0%) industries.

Manufacturing sales down in Toronto and Edmonton

On an unadjusted basis, manufacturing sales decreased in 10 of 12 census metropolitan areas (CMAs) in November, led by Toronto (-3.5%) and Edmonton (-6.3%).

In Toronto, the largest decline was in transportation equipment, primarily from motor vehicle manufacturing. Other industries that decreased were beverage and tobacco, plastics and rubber products, and food.

Manufacturing sales in Edmonton were down in 17 of 21 industries, with the largest decreases in the petroleum and coal product, chemical, and non-metallic mineral product industries.

In Montréal, sales increased 2.8% to $6.9 billion. Higher sales of transportation equipment were behind the increase, reflecting a gain in the aerospace product and parts industry.

Inventory levels increase

Inventory levels increased 0.5% to $87.9 billion in November, following two monthly declines. Inventories were up in 11 of 21 industries, led by the paper (+3.9%), machinery (+1.3%) and fabricated metal product (+1.7%) industries. These increases were partly offset by a 5.8% decline in the electrical equipment, appliance and component industry.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Inventory levels increase
Inventory levels increase

The inventory-to-sales ratio increased from 1.52 in October to 1.54 in November. This 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 increases
The inventory-to-sales ratio increases

Unfilled orders increase

Unfilled orders edged up 0.1% to $97.8 billion in November. Overall, unfilled orders were up in 12 of 21 industries, with the largest increases in the aerospace product and parts, machinery, and fabricated metal product industries.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Unfilled orders edge up
Unfilled orders edge up

New orders increased 1.9% to $57.1 billion following a 4.2% decline in October. The increase mostly reflected higher new orders in the transportation equipment industry and, to a lesser extent, in the fabricated metal product industry.

Capacity utilization rate

The unadjusted capacity utilization rate for the total manufacturing sector decreased 1.3 percentage points, from 80.5% in October to 79.2% in November.

Chart 5  Chart 5: The capacity utilization rate declines
The capacity utilization rate declines

The capacity utilization rate declined in 12 of 21 industries, led by wood products (down 12.1 percentage points) and petroleum and coal products (down 3.5 percentage points). A lower rate of production capacity utilization in the transportation equipment, primary metal, and fabricated metal product industries also contributed to the overall decline.

The capacity utilization rate increased in the food, beverage and tobacco, as well as the computer and electronic product manufacturing industries.

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 Monthly Survey of Manufacturing 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 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 given 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 if 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 sales, inventories and unfilled orders 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, which are assumed to occur throughout the month, the average exchange rate for the reference month established by the Bank of Canada is used for the conversion. The monthly average exchange rate is available in table 33-10-0163-01. Inventories and unfilled orders are reported at the end of the reference period. For most respondents, the daily average 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 such cases, the daily average exchange rate on the day selected by the respondent is used. As a result of exchange rate fluctuations, the daily average 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. Daily average exchange rate data are available in table 33-10-0036-01.

Revision policy

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

Once a year, multiple years of data are revised.

Real-time data tables

Real-time data tables 16-10-0118-01, 16-10-0119-01, 16-10-0014-01 and 16-10-0015-01 will be updated on January 30, 2020.

Next release

Data from the Monthly Survey of Manufacturing for December 2019 will be released on February 18, 2020.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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