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Gross domestic product by industry, January 2020

Released: 2020-03-31

Real GDP by industry

January 2020

0.1% increase

(monthly change)

Real gross domestic product edged up 0.1% in January, as inclement weather in many parts of the country, automotive plant closures and labour unrest in the Ontario education sector partly offset growth in many sectors. Overall, 12 out of 20 sectors increased in January.

While the landscape of the Canadian and world economy has shifted since January, data from the beginning of the year are important in monitoring when and where changes occur over the following months. As such, this release and the detailed industry summary serves as a baseline of the Canadian economy for measuring the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on various industries in the coming months.

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

Impact of the coronavirus on gross domestic product by industry

Statistics Canada is closely monitoring possible impacts of the novel coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) on Canada's gross domestic product (GDP).

In January, effects such as reduced trade with China and advisories against non-essential travel to China affected potential growth. The pandemic will significantly affect economic activity in March and subsequent months.

Since the beginning of March, flight suspensions and travel advisories have been announced and various public events have been cancelled or postponed.

Crude oil prices have declined amid lower demand due to a slowdown in global economic activity and travel. Additionally, tensions between oil-producing nations are expected to lead to an increase in supply.

Because of these factors, as well as supply chain disruptions for many types of goods, temporary closures of non-essential stores and service providers and the recent lowering of interest rates, the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak will be deeply felt in subsequent months.

Statistics Canada will continue to report the impacts of COVID-19 on GDP in Canada as information becomes available.

Manufacturing rises in January despite auto shutdowns

Manufacturing rose 0.8% in January as both durable and non-durable manufacturing increased.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Manufacturing sector increases in January
Manufacturing sector increases in January

Non-durable manufacturing was up for a second consecutive month, rising 1.7% in January, as six of nine subsectors grew. Leading the growth were food (+3.6%), plastic and rubber products manufacturing (+4.1%), and printing and related support activities (+8.3%). Partial shutdowns at some Canadian refineries for maintenance work during the month were a major contributor to the lower output in petroleum and coal products manufacturing (-3.9%).

Durable manufacturing edged up 0.1% in January as 6 of 10 subsectors increased. Machinery manufacturing (+6.9%) led the growth as all but one industry in the subsector expanded. Partially offsetting the growth was a 3.6% contraction in transportation equipment manufacturing. Lower production mostly attributable to temporary plant shutdowns at some assembly plants as well as the closure of the General Motors Oshawa assembly plant contributed to declines in motor vehicle (-11.9%) and motor vehicle parts (-2.5%) manufacturing.

Finance and insurance sector continues to grow

The finance and insurance sector increased 0.9% in January. Financial investment services (+3.7%) and depository credit intermediation and monetary authorities (+0.6%) grew as global geopolitical and financial instability drove investors towards safer assets and securities such as money market funds and bonds.

Transportation and warehousing contracts

For the second time in three months the transportation and warehousing sector was down, decreasing 1.7% in January, as most subsectors contracted. Air transportation declined 2.7%, as movement of both goods and passengers decreased. Mid-January winter storms across many parts of the country caused multiple delays and cancellations at Canada's busiest airports. Furthermore in January, there was a computer systems problem at one of Canada's largest air carriers and the rapid spread of COVID-19 in China that led to travel advisories in the latter part of the month.

Pipeline transportation (-3.2%) was down for the second time in three months. Lower pipeline transportation of natural gas contributed the most to the decrease as warmer than normal temperatures for January across much of Canada and the United States led to lower exports of natural gas.

Rail transportation declined 1.8% in January, offsetting some of the growth in December (+9.7%). Softening international demand for commodities such as coal, iron ore, grains, potash, forestry and other products along with periods of stormy weather across parts of the country contributed to the lower rail movement in January.

Wholesale trade increases in January

Following a 0.6% growth in December, the wholesale trade sector rose 1.2% in January. All subsectors grew, except for petroleum and petroleum products distributors (-1.2%). The largest contributions to the increase came from motor vehicle and parts (+3.8%), personal and household goods (+2.2%), building material and supplies (+1.4%) and miscellaneous wholesaling (+0.8%).

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction declines

The mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector was down 0.6% in January, partially offsetting a 1.4% growth in December.

Support activities for mining, and oil and gas extraction were down 3.4% on lower rigging services. Mining and quarrying (except oil and gas) was down 1.2% in January. Coal mining fell 16.5% in January, the largest decline since March 2012 as lower international demand, mainly from Japan, contributed to the decline. Non-metallic mineral mining (-2.9%) contracted for the fifth consecutive month. Metal ore mining, up for the fourth time in five months, rose 2.3% in January, led by a 9.7% growth in iron ore mining.

Oil and gas extraction increased 0.3% in January, up for a fourth consecutive month. A 2.0% growth in oil sands extraction, driven by higher synthetic oil production in Alberta, was partly offset by a 1.6% contraction in oil and gas extraction (except oil sands).

Public sector slows as Ontario labour unrest affects educational services

The public sector (education, health care and public administration) edged up 0.1% in January. Growth in health care and social assistance and public administration more than offset a decline in educational services, which contracted 0.7% in January, as rotating strikes by Ontario elementary and secondary school teachers contributed to the decline.

Retail trade declines

Retail trade decreased 0.4% in January, as 8 of 12 subsectors declined. A number of significant and record-breaking snowstorms affecting Newfoundland and Labrador, Southern Ontario and British Columbia's Lower Mainland played a part in the lower retailing activity in January.

Other industries

Construction was up 0.2% in January. Non-residential construction increased 1.7%, while residential construction edged up 0.1%.

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


Sustainable development goals

On January 1, 2016, the world officially began implementing 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 global sustainable development goal reporting. This release will be used to help 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)?"

Revisions

With this release of monthly GDP by industry, revisions have been made back to January 2019.

Each month, newly available administrative and survey data from various industries in the economy are integrated, resulting 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 April 20.

Next release

Data on GDP by industry for February will be released on April 30.

Products

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.

The Economic accounts statistics portal, accessible from the Subjects module of the Statistics Canada website, features an up-to-date portrait of national and provincial economies and their structure.

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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