Monthly Survey of Manufacturing

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December 2010 (Previous release)

Manufacturing sales advanced 0.4% to $45.4 billion in December. Gains in the primary metal and petroleum and coal product industries were offset by a decline in aerospace product and parts. Manufacturing sales have been moving upwards at a slower rate in recent months, after increasing substantially between May 2009 and May 2010.

Constant dollar manufacturing sales declined 0.5% in December, reflecting price increases reported during the month. Constant dollar sales have been relatively stable over the past seven months.

Higher sales were reported in 13 of 21 industries, representing two-thirds of total manufacturing.

Manufacturing sales advance in December

Widespread gains largely offset by declines in the aerospace industry

Sales advanced 3.9% in the primary metal industry. The increase reflected a rise in prices and higher production at some plants following slowdowns.

In the petroleum and coal products industry, sales advanced 1.5%. The rise was driven by price increases.

A 2.3% gain in the chemical product industry largely reflected higher sales of basic chemicals.

Sales in the food industry increased 0.9%. The rise was largely attributable to higher sales reported by manufacturers in the grain and oilseed milling industry.

The aerospace product and parts industry led the declines. Production in the industry fell 16.6%, the largest decrease in percentage terms since September 2009.

Sales decreases also occurred in the machinery industry (-2.0%) and the computer and electronic product industry (-3.0%).

Note to readers

All data in this release are seasonally adjusted and are expressed in current dollars unless otherwise specified.

Preliminary data are provided for the current reference month. Revised data, based on late responses, are updated for the three previous months.

Non-durable goods industries include food, beverage and tobacco products, textile mills, textile product mills, clothing, leather and allied products, paper, printing and related support activities, petroleum and coal products, chemicals, and plastics and rubber products.

Durable goods industries include wood products, non-metallic mineral products, primary metal, fabricated metal products, machinery, computer and electronic products, electrical equipment, appliances and components, transportation equipment, furniture and related products and miscellaneous manufacturing.

Production-based industries

For the aerospace industry and shipbuilding industries, the value of production is used instead of sales of goods manufactured. This value is calculated by adjusting monthly sales of goods manufactured by the monthly change in inventories of goods in process and finished products manufactured.

Unfilled orders are a stock of orders that will contribute to future sales assuming that the orders are not cancelled.

New orders are those received whether sold in the current month or not. New orders are measured as the sum of sales for the current month plus the change in unfilled orders from the previous month to the current month.

Sales up in six provinces

New Brunswick led the provinces, with sales rising 28.7% to $1.6 billion, largely reflecting gains in the non-durable goods industries.

Sales advanced 3.3% in Alberta to $5.4 billion. Food (+9.8%), petroleum and coal products (+4.4%) and paper (+15.4%) were largely responsible for the gain.

A 3.9% rise in Newfoundland and Labrador's sales reflected gains in the non-durable goods industries.

Quebec led the provincial declines in December, with sales falling 2.8% to $10.9 billion. Decreases were largely concentrated in the aerospace products and parts industry (-21.3%) and the petroleum and coal products industry (-8.7%).

Sales declined 0.4% in Ontario to $20.7 billion. Decreases in the petroleum and coal products (-6.8%) and food (-1.9%) industries were partly offset by gains in the primary metal (+3.9%) and chemical product (+2.1%) industries.

In Nova Scotia, sales declined 2.7% to $877 million, largely as a result of lower sales in the non-durable goods industries.

Inventory levels remain unchanged

Inventory levels remained unchanged in December at $61.0 billion. A large increase in the motor vehicle industry was offset by a fall in aerospace product and parts inventories. Despite remaining at the same level in December, inventories have risen in five of the past seven months since their most recent low of $58.6 billion in May 2010.

Total inventories held by manufacturers in the motor vehicle industry increased 38.7% in December. Interruptions in motor vehicle production, caused by severe weather conditions in Southwest Ontario in mid-December, led to a 77.6% jump in goods-in-process inventories for the industry. Increases in raw material (+6.8%) and finished product (+19.7%) inventories also contributed to the overall rise in total inventories held by motor vehicle manufacturers.

Inventories rose 2.2% in the machinery industry and 1.9% in the petroleum and coal products industry.

The aerospace product and parts industry (-7.4%) led the declines in total inventories. The decrease was mostly concentrated in the goods-in-process stage of fabrication.

Inventory levels remain unchanged

The inventory-to-sales ratio edged down from 1.35 in November to 1.34 in December. The inventory-to-sales ratio is a measure of the time, in months, that would be required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level.

The inventory-to-sales ratio edges down

Unfilled orders decline

Unfilled orders fell 1.6% in December to $52.0 billion. Unfilled orders have remained relatively stable in 2010 after declining throughout most of 2009.

The aerospace product and parts industry led the declines in dollar terms with unfilled orders falling $264 million (-1.2%) to $21.0 billion in December. Excluding the aerospace product and parts industry, unfilled orders fell 1.9%.

The computer and electronic product (-5.9%), fabricated metal product (-2.6%) and machinery (-1.5%) industries also contributed to the decline.

 Unfilled orders decline

New orders were down 1.9% in December compared with November. The main contributors to the decline included aerospace product and parts, computer and electronic products, fabricated metal products and machinery.

Available on CANSIM: tables 304-0014, 304-0015 and 377-0008.

Table 304-0014: Canada data (sales, inventories, orders) by industry.

Table 304-0015: Provincial sales by industry.

Table 377-0008: Constant dollar sales, inventories and orders.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 2101.

Data from the January Monthly Survey of Manufacturing will be released on March 16.

For more information, or to order data, contact the dissemination officer (toll-free 1-866-873-8789; 613-951-9497; fax: 613-951-3877; To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Michael Schimpf (613-951-9832;, Manufacturing and Energy Division.