New figures released by Statistics Canada showed that across the provinces, manufacturing sales rose for the month of June. The numbers, quoted by The Kelowna Daily Courier, showed sales increased by 0.6 percent during the month. That's up from the 0.4 percent growth in sales for May.
Agricultural chemicals contribute
The Stats Can report showed that the sales hike was fueled, in part, by a surprising strength in the agricultural chemicals sector, which offset losses in the auto industry. The report showed that Ag Chemical sales rose by 8.6 percent during the month to $4.2 billion. That's the biggest gain for the sector since just before the 2008 recession hit. Because it was colder this spring in western Canada, some of the traditional planting numbers usually seen in May and early June were delayed, said agency officials.
Good news from Quebec
While without the chemical sales, the overall sales numbers for manufacturing actually fell, Quebec saw its manufacturing sales numbers rise in a big way. Stats Can said Quebec's 2.3 percent increase to $12.1 billion put the province in second place for growth overall. Primary metals and petroleum surges led the way after two months of sales declines. Inventories rose half of a percent in June to $72.3 billion – the fifth such increase in six months. Gains in 12 of 21 manufacturing industries led to a rise of filled orders by 0.6 percent up to $51.7 billion for June.
Carmela Sutton is with Scotia Bank, and she said the encouraging manufacturing number combined with a revised and now presumably accurate jobs report has created a good deal of optimism.
"Job gains are good, and an unemployment rate that is falling with a stable participation rate is also encouraging," she told Reuters. "You combine in manufacturing sales, which was not only stronger than expected but the second upside surprise … that too is fairly encouraging in terms of what's transpired in the domestic economy."
According to Statistics Canada, Alberta led all provinces with manufacturing sales rising by 4.7 percent to $6.9 billion, making it the sixth straight month that sales have risen. Much of the gains are being attributed to the ongoing oil sands boom in the region. New equipment and tool orders from all the drilling and mining operations in the area are being credited with enhancing the growth figures, according to industry magazine Castanet.