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Economic output in Canada expanded in 2011, although at a slower pace than in 2010. Real GDP, the total value of all goods and services adjusted for inflation, rose 2.6% in 2011. This followed a 3.4% rise in 2010 and a 3.0% decline in 2009. In 2011, Canadians produced goods and services valued at $1.27 trillion.
Ongoing uncertainty related to the sovereign debt and banking crisis in Europe affected global investor confidence. Also, for much of the year, the Canadian dollar was worth more than its US counterpart.
The main drivers of economic growth were mining and oil and gas extraction, construction, manufacturing and the public sector (education, health services and public administration combined).
Manufacturing sales for 2011 totalled $571.2 billion, up 7.8% from 2010. Sales rose in 14 of 21 industries, led by machinery (19.8%), petroleum and coal products (17.0%), primary metals (15.5%) and miscellaneous manufacturing (10.7%).
Consumer prices rose at an annual average rate of 2.9% in 2011, following a 1.8% increase in 2010. The faster growth was largely attributable to higher prices for gasoline and food.
Business investment largest contributor to economic growth
Business investment in plant and equipment contributed the most to the growth in GDP in 2011. Businesses increased investments in non-residential structures by 13.7%, well above the 2.8% rise in 2010. In addition, investment in machinery and equipment grew 4.7%. Investment in housing slowed to 2.3% from 25.2%.
Final domestic demand rose 3.0% in 2011 after increasing 4.5% in 2010. Final domestic demand is the sum of personal and net government spending on consumer goods and services, as well as gross fixed capital formation by government and business.
Consumer spending increased 2.4%, following a 3.3% rise in 2010. Purchases of durable and semi-durable goods slowed considerably in 2011.
Alberta led the provinces in economic growth
Real GDP increased in every province and territory except the Northwest Territories in 2011. Alberta and Saskatchewan led the country in exploration, mining and related construction activities.
In Alberta, GDP advanced 5.2% after a 3.3% increase in 2010. Higher energy prices drove growth in oil and gas extraction, construction of oil and gas engineering projects and exploration services. Alberta's manufacturing output increased by 10.9%.
Saskatchewan's GDP rose 4.8% after a 4.2% increase in 2010. Output of goods-producing industries increased 5.9% while services output advanced 3.8%.
In Manitoba, GDP increased 1.1% in 2011 following a 2.2% gain in 2010. Crop production GDP fell 21% as a result of heavy rains and flooding. In British Columbia, real GDP rose 2.9% following a 3.2% increase in 2010.
GDP in Quebec rose 1.7% in 2011 following a 2.5% increase in 2010. Construction activity increased 4.1% because of mine engineering work and, to a lesser extent, residential construction.
In Ontario, GDP rose 2.0% in 2011 after a 3.2% increase in 2010. The main sources of growth were metal ore mining and exploration activity and higher manufacturing output.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, GDP increased 2.8% in 2011 after leading all provinces in 2010 with a 5.8% increase. Growth was largely attributable to an increase in metal ore mining as well as in non-residential and engineering construction related to mining and oil projects.
In Prince Edward Island, GDP rose 1.1% in 2011 following a 2.7% increase in 2010. In Nova Scotia, GDP rose 0.3% in 2011 after increasing 1.6% in 2010. In New Brunswick, GDP edged up 0.1% in 2011, following a 3.0% increase in 2010.
GDP falls in NWT
In the Northwest Territories, GDP fell 5.5% in 2011 following a 1.3% increase in 2010. Output of mining and oil and gas extraction declined 12.9%, led by a significant drop in diamond mining.
Nunavut's GDP increased 7.7% in 2011, following an 11.3% rise in 2010. This was the strongest growth in the country. Output of gold and silver ore mining increased with the second year of production at the Meadowbank mine. The high price of gold spurred exploration activity and construction, with work on a new mine underway.
In Yukon, GDP increased 5.6% in 2011 after growing 4.0% in 2010. Increases in commodity prices led to gains in output of support activities for mining and oil and gas extraction.