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Gross domestic product by industry
Economic activity increased 0.2% in November after remaining stable in October. Growth was registered in both goods and service industries. Manufacturing benefited from healthy growth primarily driven by the motor vehicle industries. Mining, excluding oil and natural gas, was also robust. Agriculture, forestry, construction and financial services also posted gains. However, these gains were partly offset by losses in the energy sector as well as in wholesale and retail trade.
Motor vehicle production boosts manufacturing activity
For the second month since the start of the year, the activity of the manufacturing sector increased (+1.6%). The gain came primarily from the manufacturing of durable goods, up 2.6%, while non-durable goods edged up 0.1%. Of the 21 major manufacturing groups, 11 increased, accounting for 67% of total manufacturing value added.
Motor vehicle production enjoyed a strong gain of 14% in November. This gain was propelled by a robust increase in the automotive and light motor vehicle manufacturing industry after four consecutive months of decline. This decline was caused by an adjustment to changing demand conditions. The heavy-duty truck manufacturing industry also posted a double-digit increase. As a result, the motor vehicle parts and associated industries saw substantive increases.
With the exception of motor vehicle production, the pharmaceutical and medicine industry was the biggest contributor to the increase in the manufacturing sector in November. This gain was due to an increase in production of vaccines. Manufacturing of fabricated metal products advanced while the furniture and related products group climbed after three months of decline. Manufacturers of wood products registered another monthly decrease, the ninth since January. The textile and clothing industries lost ground falling to their lowest level of activities on record.
Industrial production (the output of mines, utilities and factories) increased 0.2% in November. The strong increase in manufacturing offset the declines in mining and utilities. Industrial production in the United States decreased 0.1% in November, due to a downturn in mining, while utilities were up and manufacturing was unchanged.
Production falls in the energy sector
The energy sector retreated 2.5% in November. Declines were registered in both the extraction (-2.9%) and exploration (-3.7%) of oil but mainly natural gas. In particular, exploration recorded the lowest level of output since January. Weather and prices continue to be the most influential factors with regards to oil and gas production. The utilities sector recorded a decline of 2.0% in light of the lower demand for electricity by consumers and enterprises in Ontario and Quebec as well as on export markets.
The output of the mining sector, excluding oil and natural gas, advanced 2.6%. Both the metal and non-metallic industries posted gains. In particular, the copper, nickel and lead mines posted the highest level of production since the beginning of the year with an increase of 3.8% over October. This growth is mostly due to an ongoing recovery from a work stoppage in Labrador in September.
Construction sector posts gain
The construction sector rose 0.2% in November. An increase in engineering and repair work offset declines in residential and non-residential construction. Residential construction was down for the seventh consecutive month (-0.2%). Starts in residential construction were down almost across the board, with single-family homes and apartments leading the decline. Non-residential building construction fell 0.3%. However, the value of non-residential building permits—a good indicator of future activities—issued during November rose significantly for a second consecutive month.
Wholesale and retail trade continue to decline
Wholesale trade recorded its third consecutive decline, slipping 0.1% in November. Drops in farm products, pharmaceuticals, and other products lead the downward movement. This drop was partially offset by increases in household and personal products, and machinery and electronic equipment.
Similarly, retail trade retreated for the second month in a row to post a loss of 0.2% for November. Sales decreased in clothing and general merchandise stores (which include department stores). These declines were tempered by a strong showing in sales of new cars. Consumer demand for North American-built passenger cars was largely responsible for the increase in new automobile sales.
Banking and brokerage activities advance
Output in the finance and insurance sector grew 0.4%. This gain was fuelled by strong activity in the securities markets. In particular, the bond market was very active resulting in increased brokerage activities. Banking activities also advanced.
Industries related to tourism, such as accommodation, restaurants and air travel, benefited from an increase in the number of travellers. In particular, Alberta’s accommodation industry enjoyed a robust month as visitors flocked to that province for leisure or work.