Manufacturing sales in Canada fell two per cent to $52.4 billion in August, following three consecutive months of strong increases, according to data released Friday by Statistics Canada.
The federal agency said the largest declines were in the transportation equipment and plastics and rubber industries. Excluding transportation equipment, manufacturing sales rose 1.1 per cent. Total manufacturing sales in August were 6.6 per cent below February’s pre-pandemic levels, it said.
In Alberta, manufacturing sales fell by 1.3 per cent to $5.1 billion and sales were off by 19.2 per cent year-over-year.
Total manufacturing inventories across Canada edged up 0.2 per cent to $86.6 billion in August, following four consecutive monthly declines. Inventories were up in 13 of 21 industries, led by machinery and food manufacturing, explained StatsCan.
“Despite the growth in August, total manufacturing inventories were one per cent below February’s pre-pandemic levels. Total inventories were down $2.1 billion year over year. Following three consecutive monthly declines, the inventory-to-sales ratio rose from 1.62 in July to 1.65 in August. Just prior to the pandemic in February, the level stood at 1.56. This ratio measures the time, in months, that would be required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level,” it said.
“Total unfilled orders for the manufacturing sector decreased for the fifth consecutive month, falling 1.7 per cent to $91.1 billion in August—the lowest level since May 2018. The aerospace product and parts industry was primarily responsible for the decline (-3.6 per cent). The appreciation of the Canadian dollar relative to the US dollar in August partially contributed to the drop in unfilled orders.”