The manufacturing sector turned in its best performance since July 2011, posting a 2.6 per cent increase in sales for February. Statistics Canada reports that sales reached $49.6 billion. Durable goods rose 3.5 per cent, to $25.1 billion; non-durable goods rose 1.5 per cent to $24.5 billion.
The largest gains were in transportation equipment, which saw sales rise by 8.7 per cent to $8.1 billion. Most of this was due to the auto industry, but a 15.5 per cent increase in the aerospace product and parts industry also contributed.
Sales of petroleum and coal products rose 2.4 per cent to $7.3 billion, the result of a 6.5 per cent rise in prices for the industry.
The other big contributors to the gains were food, where sales rose 1.9 per cent to 46.0 billion, and the “miscellaneous” manufacturing industries, where sales jumped 10.9 per cent.
The largest sales gains were seen in Ontario, rising 3.3 per cent to $22.4 billion. Most of this gain (60 per cent) was due to the auto industry, which advanced by 12.4 per cent. Chemicals and particularly the aerospace product and parts industry, up 26.2 per cent, were also strong.
Quebec’s aerospace industry sales also grew by 16.1 per cent, to $791 million.
Unfilled orders increased 0.4 per cent to $69.6 billion in February, the fourth consecutive monthly gain.
In the aerospace product and parts industry, unfilled orders rose 1.0 per cent to $40.1 billion. This increase, Statistics Canada says, reflected a gain in the value of the US dollar relative to the Canadian dollar. A large proportion of aerospace unfilled orders are held in US dollars. Excluding the aerospace industry, unfilled orders for the rest of the manufacturing sector declined 0.5 per cent.
New orders declined 4.0 per cent to $49.9 billion, mostly the result of a decline in new aerospace orders.