Building Materials Lead Wholesale Gains

There is evidence to suggest that the wholesale sector was able to stabilize itself to a large degree before the Canadian economy entered the second wave of the pandemic at the beginning of November, says Statistics Canada. By many measures, the wholesale sector was better off in October than it was in February, before the onset of COVID-19 restrictions. The sale of wholesale products rose one per cent in October to $66.7 billion, the sixth consecutive increase for the sector. Gains in the machinery, equipment and supplies; motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts and accessories; and building material and supplies subsectors all contributed to the growth. October sales were 3.3 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels and for the second consecutive month all subsectors except for motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts and accessories recorded sales that were higher than those in February 2020. The building material and supplies subsector has surpassed pre-pandemic sales levels more than any other subsector, with October sales 9.9 per cent higher than February 2020. However, the data from October may represent a short-term peak in the sector as shutdowns occurred in many parts of Canada in November and December to combat the pandemic. The impact of the second wave of COVID-19 may not be seen until the release of data for December 2020 or January 2021.