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Monthly Survey of Manufacturing, February 2024

Released: 2024-04-15

Canadian manufacturing sales increased 0.7% to $71.6 billion in February, on elevated sales in 13 of 21 subsectors, mainly driven by higher sales of petroleum and coal (+4.3%) as well as electrical equipment, appliance and component (+12.6%) products. Meanwhile, the chemical subsector (-5.5%) recorded the largest decline.

Sales in constant dollars edged up 0.1% in February, while the Industrial Product Price Index increased 0.7%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Manufacturing sales
Manufacturing sales

Sales of petroleum and coal increase the most

Sales of petroleum and coal products rose 4.3% to $8.7 billion in February, primarily due to higher prices and to a lesser extent, volumes (+0.8%). In February, prices of refined petroleum energy products (including liquid biofuels) increased 5.9%, partially due to higher prices of conventional crude oil (+6.1%), the key input for refined petroleum products. Despite the monthly increase, sales of petroleum and coal products decreased 1.5% on a yearly basis in February.

Sales of electrical equipment, appliance and component products increased 12.6% from January to $1.5 billion in February, the highest on record. The electrical equipment industry group contributed the most to the monthly increase. Prices for this industry group rose 0.5% in February, while exports of electronic and electrical equipment and parts were also up 0.5%.

Following a 2.6% increase in January, sales of chemical products declined 5.5% to $5.3 billion in February, mainly on lower sales of pesticide, fertilizer and other agricultural chemical products. Prices of fertilizers, pesticides and other chemical products decreased 0.6% in February, the fourth consecutive monthly decline. Year over year, sales of chemical products declined 5.7% in February.

Quebec posts the largest gain among the provinces

Manufacturing sales increased in five provinces in February, led by Quebec and followed by Alberta. Sales in Saskatchewan saw the largest decline.

Sales in Quebec increased 3.0% to $18.0 billion in February, primarily on higher sales of electrical equipment, appliances, and components (+26.3%) as well as production of aerospace products and parts (+5.9%). The gains were partly offset by lower sales of machinery (-4.1%). The primary metal subsector and aerospace product and parts industry group contributed to a 2.6% gain in total sales in Montréal in February.

In Alberta, sales rose 4.1% to $8.8 billion in February, with the largest increases in the petroleum and coal (+9.5%) and chemical (+7.7%) subsectors, which were also the major contributors to higher manufacturing sales in Edmonton (+6.2%) in February.

Following a 3.2% increase in Saskatchewan in January, sales in the province fell 12.8% to $1.9 billion in February, largely due to lower sales of chemical products and machinery. Higher sales of petroleum and coal products partly offset the decreases. The chemical subsector was the main driver of lower total sales in Regina (-16.1%) in February.

Total inventories decline for the third consecutive month

Total inventories decreased 0.7% to $120.6 billion in February, the third consecutive monthly decline. Lower goods in process (-1.8%) and raw materials (-0.5%) inventories largely contributed to the decrease in February. From an industry perspective, lower inventories of chemicals (-5.5%) and petroleum and coal products (-2.7%) were mainly responsible for the decline. Total inventories in constant dollars declined 0.8% in February.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Inventory levels decline
Inventory levels decline

The inventory-to-sales ratio contracted from 1.71 in January to 1.68 in February. 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 rise

The total value of unfilled orders rose 0.8% to $105.1 billion in February, largely on a 1.2% increase in unfilled orders of aerospace products and parts.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Unfilled orders increase
Unfilled orders increase

Capacity utilization rate increases

The capacity utilization rate (not seasonally adjusted) for the total manufacturing sector increased from 77.0% in January to 78.1% in February.

Capacity utilization rates increased in the machinery (+2.3 percentage points), transportation equipment (+1.5 percentage points) and food (+1.8 percentage points) subsectors. The gains were partly offset by lower capacity utilization rates in the primary metal (-1.0 percentage points) and paper product (-1.9 percentage points) subsectors.

Chart 5  Chart 5: The capacity utilization rate increases
The capacity utilization rate increases

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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. Statistics Canada will release revised monthly manufacturing data on May 15, in accordance with standard practices. Estimates of sales of goods manufactured, inventories and orders in tables 16-10-0047-01, 16-10-0048-01 and 16-10-0011-01 will be revised back to January 2021 for unadjusted data, and back to January 2019 for seasonally adjusted data.

Real manufacturing sales, orders, inventory owned and inventory-to-sales ratio estimates in table 16-10-0013-01 will be revised back to January 2019.

Unadjusted estimates of capacity utilization rates, in table 16-10-0012-01, will be revised back to January 2021.

Unadjusted and seasonally adjusted estimates of sales of goods manufactured for the 15 census metropolitan areas will be compiled from January 2013 to December 2017 and will be available in table 16-10-0011-01.

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 April 23.

Next release

Data from the Monthly Survey of Manufacturing for March will be released on May 15.

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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