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Monthly Survey of Manufacturing, July 2023

Released: 2023-09-15

Following a 2.0% decline in June, Canadian manufacturing sales increased 1.6% to $71.9 billion in July, led primarily by higher sales of food products (+3.1%), petroleum and coal products (+4.6%) and transportation equipment (+2.4%). Meanwhile, sales of paper (-4.6%) and plastics and rubber (-3.4%) products decreased the most.

Sales in constant dollars rose 0.9% in July, while the industrial product price index increased 0.4% month over month.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Manufacturing sales
Manufacturing sales

Impacts of the port strike on manufacturing activities

Despite the gains observed for July, the port strike in British Columbia disrupted supply chains primarily on the west coast of Canada and had moderate impacts on manufacturing activities. At the national level, the port strike impacted 13.2% of manufacturing plants in July, mainly through shortages of raw material (8.8%) and disruptions in transportation (4.9%). While it is difficult to quantify the exact impact, the information indicates that sales in the paper product and chemical subsectors were impacted the most by the strike.

Food manufacturing subsector posts the largest increase

Sales of food products increased 3.1% to $12.4 billion in July, following five consecutive monthly declines. The monthly increase was attributable to significant gains in the grain and oilseed milling industry group (+25.5%), partially due to resumption of operations following maintenance shutdowns at some crushing plants in June. Prices of grain and oilseed products rose 7.5% in July, while the quantity of canola (rapeseed) oil production was up 34.3%. Exports of canola (+107.8%) more than doubled in July. Sales of food products in volume terms increased 2.5% month over month, and sales in current dollars were up 3.8% on a yearly basis in July.

Sales of petroleum and coal products rose 4.6% to $7.5 billion in July, following a 9.9% decline in June. The month-over-month increase in July was mainly attributable to higher prices as constant dollar sales increased 0.8%. Prices of refined petroleum energy products (including liquid biofuels) rose 3.9% in July, while their exports were down 14.6%. Year over year, sales in current dollars of petroleum and coal products fell 26.7%.

Sales of motor vehicles rose 3.5% to $5.8 billion in July, the highest level since May 2017. Sales of motor vehicle parts rose 3.5% to $3.3 billion in July 2023, following a significant decline in June. Easing of global supply chains has helped auto manufacturers to produce and sell more motor vehicles, contributing to the higher sales for July. Exports of motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts rose 2.1% in July.

Sales of paper products declined 4.6% to $2.6 billion in July, the lowest level since December 2021. More than half of paper product manufacturers in British Columbia were impacted by the port strike in July 2023, contributing to the decline.

Primary metals lead provincial increase in Quebec

Manufacturing sales increased in seven provinces in July, led by Quebec (+3.5%) and Saskatchewan (+22.1%). Manitoba (-10.7%) posted the largest decline.

Sales in Quebec increased 3.5% to $17.9 billion in July, mainly on higher sales of primary metals (+7.9%). Higher volume sales and increased domestic demand were mainly responsible for the gain. Higher primary metal sales also contributed to the increase in sales in Montréal (+1.1%), while higher sales of petroleum and coal products led to a 9.5% increase in Québec.

In Saskatchewan, sales were up 22.1% to $2.1 billion in July, following a substantial decline in June. The increase was mainly due to higher sales of grain and oilseed milling products after some oilseed manufacturers experienced downtime in June.

Sales in Manitoba posted the largest decline in July, falling 10.7% to $2.0 billion, the lowest level since April 2022. Lower sales of motor vehicles and aerospace products and parts were partially responsible for the decline.

Total inventories decrease

Total inventory levels declined 0.7% to $122.4 billion in July, on lower raw materials (-1.6%) and goods in process (-0.9%), while finished products (+0.7%) increased slightly. Inventories of chemicals contributed the most to the decline, down 4.7% month over month in July.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Inventory levels decrease
Inventory levels decrease

The inventory-to-sales ratio decreased from 1.74 in June to 1.70 in July. 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 decreases
The inventory-to-sales ratio decreases

Unfilled orders decline

The total value of unfilled orders declined 1.0% to $103.3 billion in July, primarily driven by lower unfilled orders of computer and electronic products (-2.7%) and aerospace products and parts (-0.5%).

Chart 4  Chart 4: Unfilled orders decline
Unfilled orders decline

Capacity utilization rate decreases

The capacity utilization rate (not seasonally adjusted) for the total manufacturing sector fell from 80.8% in June to 77.6% in July, on lower production. The decline in capacity utilization rates was most noticeable in the wood product (-9.8 percentage points), transportation equipment (-7.5 percentage points) and machinery (-7.2 percentage points) subsectors.

Chart 5  Chart 5: The capacity utilization rate decreases
The capacity utilization rate decreases

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

  Note to readers

Monthly data in this release are seasonally adjusted and are expressed in current dollars, unless otherwise specified.

Seasonally adjusted data are data that have been modified to eliminate the effect of seasonal and calendar influences to allow for more meaningful comparisons of economic conditions from period to period. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

Trend-cycle estimates are included in selected charts as a complement to the seasonally adjusted series. These data represent a smoothed version of the seasonally adjusted time series and provide information on longer-term movements, including changes in direction underlying the series. For information on trend-cycle data, see Trend-cycle estimates – Frequently asked questions.

Both seasonally adjusted data and trend-cycle estimates are subject to revision as additional observations become available. These revisions could be large and could even lead to a reversal of movement, especially for reference months near the end of the series or during periods of economic disruption.

Non-durable goods industries include food; beverage and tobacco products; textile mills; textile product mills; apparel; 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 industry groups, 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 because of 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, assuming that 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, based on the assumption that they occur throughout the month, the average monthly 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 working day of the month. In these instances, the daily average exchange rate on the day selected by the respondent is used. Note that because 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, a revision project is undertaken to revise multiple years of data.

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 September 22.

Next release

Data from the Monthly Survey of Manufacturing for August will be released on October 16.

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 (

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