OTTAWA—Canadian manufacturing sales edged up slightly in 2013, closing out the year close to pre-recession levels, according to Statistics Canada.
The agency said in an annual review that sales for the full year increased 0.3 per cent to $590.4 billion—the fourth consecutive year of increased manufacturing sales—and have now almost fully recovered from the recession of 2008-09.
StatsCan credited gains in the wood, food, aerospace and chemical industries for the year, which it said offset declines in the primary metals, petroleum and coal, automotive, and fabricated metal manufacturing industries.
The slight increase in manufacturing sales last year followed strong advances in the previous three years—3.4 per cent in 2012; 7.6 per cent in 2011; and 8.4 per cent in 2010—after hitting a 10-year low of $488.1 billion in 2009.
Total sales increased 19.7 per cent between 2009 and 2013, putting sales last year just 1.2 per cent below pre-recession levels, indicating current dollar manufacturing sales have nearly recovered fully from the economic downturn.
An increase in exports of manufactured goods contributed to the rise in overall manufacturing sales last year, particularly in wood and chemical products, where exports increased 26.3 per cent and 7.3 per cent, respectively.
Increases were partially offset by drops in exports for the petroleum and coal products and primary metals industries, which saw decreases of 4.7 per cent and 3.2 per cent, respectively.
Overall, exports rose 1.6 per cent to $275.5 billion in 2013, according to StatsCan.
Gross domestic product (GDP) for the manufacturing sector declined in 2013 by 0.4 per cent to $168 billion, accounting for 10.6 per cent of the nation’s GDP for the year after tallying an approximate 10.8 per cent share over the previous three years.
In 2007, prior to the onset of the recession, manufacturing represented 12.7 per cent of Canada’s total GDP for a total of $186.2 billion.
Manufacturing sales of non-durable goods like food and chemicals outpaced those of durable goods, posting a 0.5 per cent gain in 2013 to hit $293.9 billion.
Sales of durable goods were essentially flat year-over-year, according to StatsCan, with a 0.1 per cent gain bringing them to $296.5 billion.
Both durable and non-durable goods sales dropped during the recession, specifically in 2009, with a 22.3 per cent decline for durable goods industries and a 12.5 per cent decrease for non-durable goods.
Constant dollar doldrums
In constant dollar terms, the agency said total manufacturing sales fell 0.9 per cent in 2013, leaving the economic measure 9.2 per cent below the pre-recession mark.
According to StatsCan, increasing prices are largely to blame.
Constant dollar sales rose 12.1 per cent from 2009 to 2013 compared with a 21 per cent gain in current dollar terms.