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Monthly Survey of Manufacturing, April 2024

Released: 2024-06-14

Following a 1.8% decline in March, total manufacturing sales increased 1.1% to $70.8 billion in April, on higher sales in 12 of 21 subsectors. The increase was mainly attributable to higher sales of transportation equipment (+4.1%), primary metals (+4.7%), and chemical products (+4.0%). The gain was partially offset by lower production in the aerospace product and parts industry group (-6.8%).

Sales in constant dollars rose 0.4% in April, indicating that a higher volume of goods was sold. The Industrial Product Price Index increased 1.5% in April, the third consecutive monthly increase.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Manufacturing sales
Manufacturing sales

Sales of motor vehicles increase the most

Following a 7.9% decline in March, sales of motor vehicles increased 5.6% to $4.8 billion in April, while sales of motor vehicle parts rose 7.7%. Despite the ongoing retooling at some auto assembly plants, certain auto manufacturers sold more motor vehicles in April. On a year-over-year basis, total sales were down 1.4% in the motor vehicle industry group and 6.4% in the motor vehicle parts industry group. Despite higher manufacturing sales, the exports of motor vehicles and parts declined 2.2% in April.

Sales rose 4.7% to $5.6 billion in the primary metal subsector in April, largely on higher sales in the non-ferrous metal (except aluminum) production and processing industry group (+15.7%). Sales of primary metal products in constant dollars rose 1.8%. Prices for primary non-ferrous metal products marked the largest monthly increase since March 2022, rising 8.3% in April 2024. Higher demand for precious metals and other non-ferrous metals such as copper and aluminum contributed to the increase.

Production declined 6.8% to $2.3 billion in the aerospace product and parts industry group in April, following the highest production on record in March ($2.5 billion). Despite the decline in April, production of aerospace products and parts was 9.8% higher compared with the same month a year earlier.

Sales increase in seven provinces, led by Ontario and Alberta

Manufacturing sales increased in seven provinces in April, led by Ontario (+0.9%) and Alberta (+2.5%). New Brunswick posted the largest decrease (-6.9%).

Sales in Ontario increased 0.9% to $31.0 billion in April, rebounding from a 2.5% decrease in March. Higher sales of motor vehicle parts (+8.0%) and motor vehicles (+4.6%) drove the increase. Vehicle production that was higher than the seasonal norm at a few assembly plants was the main contributor to the sales growth in the province. The motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts industry groups were also the main drivers of the increase in total manufacturing sales in Windsor (+25.0%).

In Alberta, sales were up 2.5% to $8.6 billion in April, with the petroleum and coal (+4.7%) and chemical (+2.7%) product subsectors partially rebounding from decreases observed in March. Higher prices of refined petroleum energy products (including liquid biofuels) (+2.8%) contributed to the increase. The chemical as well as the petroleum and coal product subsectors were also the main drivers of higher total manufacturing sales in Edmonton (+6.2%) in April.

Sales in New Brunswick fell for the third consecutive month, declining 6.9% to $1.9 billion in April, largely due to a 7.8% decrease in sales of non-durable products.

Total inventories edge down

Total inventories edged down 0.2% to $120.8 billion in April, the lowest level since November 2022. Higher inventories of raw materials (+0.8%) were more than offset by lower goods-in-process (-1.2%) and finished products (-0.7%). Inventories of fabricated metal products (-3.2%) marked the largest decrease, while inventories of transportation equipment (+1.3%) increased the most. Total inventories were down 2.7% year over year in April 2024.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Inventory levels edge down
Inventory levels edge down

The inventory-to-sales ratio declined from 1.73 in March to 1.71 in April. 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 declines
The inventory-to-sales ratio declines

Unfilled orders edge up

Unfilled orders edged up 0.2% to $105.0 billion in April, following a 1.1% decline in March. Higher unfilled orders of aerospace products and parts (+1.8%) contributed the most to the gain. Unfilled orders of several major aerospace manufacturers have risen year over year with higher demand contributing to a backlog in orders.

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

Capacity utilization rate is essentially unchanged

The capacity utilization rate (not seasonally adjusted) for the total manufacturing sector was essentially unchanged, remaining at 78.1% in April. Capacity utilization rates were down in the petroleum and coal (-7.0 percentage points) and transportation equipment (-1.6 percentage points) subsectors. Meanwhile, they were up in the food (+1.1 percentage points) and wood (+3.4 percentage points) product subsectors.

Chart 5  Chart 5: The capacity utilization rate is unchanged
The capacity utilization rate is unchanged

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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.

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 June 21.

Next release

Data from the Monthly Survey of Manufacturing for May will be released on July 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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