Manufacturing Sales Decline

Manufacturing sales fell two per cent to $52.4 billion in August, following three consecutive months of strong increases, says Statistics Canada. 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. Manufacturing sales in constant dollar fell 2.2 per cent, indicating a smaller volume of products was sold in August. Sales of wood products were up for the fourth consecutive month, rising 12.3 per cent to $3 billion in August on higher prices and volumes. Year over year, sales of wood products grew 26 per cent. The increase is due in part to an increase in the total value of residential sector permits in Ontario and Quebec and higher exports of lumber, particularly to the United States. Manufacturing sales decreased in four provinces in August, led by Ontario. 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. 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.