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Industrial capacity utilization rates, first quarter 2014

Released: 2014-06-12

Canadian industries operated at 82.5% of their production capacity in the first quarter, up slightly from 82.2% in the fourth quarter of 2013. The mining and oil and gas extraction industries were the main sources of this increase.

The rate in the first quarter was the highest since the second quarter of 2007.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Industrial capacity utilization rate reaches its highest level since the second quarter of 2007 - Description and data table
Industrial capacity utilization rate reaches its highest level since the second quarter of 2007

Chart 1: Industrial capacity utilization rate reaches its highest level since the second quarter of 2007 - Description and data table

Mining and oil and gas extraction lead the overall increase

Mining and oil and gas extraction were mainly responsible for the growth of the capacity utilization rate in the first quarter, more than offsetting declines in manufacturing and forestry and logging.

The capacity use rate in oil and gas extraction rose 1.9 percentage points to 88.7% in the first quarter, as a result of increased oil and gas extraction.

In the mining and quarrying industry, the rate increased 2.3 percentage points to 65.5% in the first quarter. As in the fourth quarter, the higher rate was due to an increase in metallic and non-metallic mineral extraction.

The capacity utilization rate in forestry and logging declined 2.3 percentage points to 84.8% in the first quarter, as a result of reduced activity in the industry.

Manufacturing down slightly after two quarters of gains

The manufacturing sector operated at 81.2% of its capacity in the first quarter, down 0.1 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2013. The chemical product manufacturing and transportation equipment manufacturing industries were largely responsible for this decrease.

Of the 21 major groups in the manufacturing sector, 9 posted a decline in their capacity utilization rate and 12 recorded an increase.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Main manufacturing industries' contribution to change in the overall manufacturing industrial capacity utilization rate, first quarter of 2014 - Description and data table
Main manufacturing industries' contribution to change in the overall manufacturing industrial capacity utilization rate, first quarter of 2014

Chart 2: Main manufacturing industries' contribution to change in the overall manufacturing industrial capacity utilization rate, first quarter of 2014 - Description and data table

The capacity use of chemical product manufacturers declined from 78.3% to 76.5% in the first quarter because of lower production in most of the industry's subsectors.

In the transportation equipment manufacturing industry, the rate fell 0.8 percentage points to 90.5% in the first quarter. This decrease was mostly attributable to a decline in the production of motor vehicles.

In contrast, the wood product manufacturing and beverage and tobacco product manufacturing major groups were up, partly compensating for the decline in the manufacturing sector's overall rate.

Production increased in all wood product manufacturing subsectors, pushing the industry's capacity utilization rate up 2.5 percentage points to 89.8%.

The beverage and tobacco product manufacturing industry increased its capacity utilization rate from 73.2% to 76.7% between the fourth quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014. Beverage production was up, more than offsetting the decline in tobacco product manufacturing.

  Note to readers

The industrial capacity utilization rate is the ratio of an industry's actual output to its estimated potential output.

For most industries, the annual estimates are obtained from the Capital and Repair Expenditures Survey while the quarterly pattern is derived from the output-to-capital ratio series, the output being the real gross domestic product at basic prices, seasonally adjusted, by industry.

This program covers all manufacturing and selected non-manufacturing industries.

With this release on industrial capacity utilization rates, data were revised back to the first quarter of 2013 to reflect updated source data.

Data on industrial capacity utilization rates for the second quarter will be released on September 10.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; mediahotline@statcan.gc.ca).

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