Economic Insights
Recent Developments in the Canadian Economy: Fall 2016

by Guy Gellatly and Elizabeth Richards, Analytical Studies Branch

Release date: November 15, 2016 Correction date: (if required)

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This article in the Economic Insights series provides users with an integrated summary of recent changes in output, employment, household demand, international trade and prices. Organized as a statistical summary of major indicators, the report is designed to inform about recent developments in the Canadian economy, highlighting major changes in the economic data during the first two quarters of 2016 and into the summer months.Note 1 Unless otherwise noted, the tabulations presented in this report are based on seasonally adjusted data available in CANSIM on November 4, 2016.

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Overview

After household spending and exports supported growth in the first quarter, the economy contracted in the second on lower exports of energy and non-energy commodities. Non-residential business investment continued to weigh on growth in the second quarter, while household spending increased on services and non-durables. Non-conventional oil extraction fell sharply in the spring as maintenance and wildfires in Northern Alberta impacted production, but rebounded during late spring and into the summer months. In August, non-conventional oil extraction was 2.0% below levels at year-end 2015.

Lower energy and non-energy exports contributed to higher trade deficits in the first half of 2016. Energy exports totalled $30.9 billion from January to June, down 20.3% from the second half of 2015. Total non-energy exports in the first half of 2016, at $223.5 billion, were 1.9% lower than in the second half of 2015.

For consumers, retail spending moderated towards mid-year on slower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers. As of August, sales at auto and parts dealers had declined in five of the last six months. Housing starts remained steady while investment in new housing construction strengthened in the first half of 2016.

Headline consumer inflation slowed to 1.1% in August as food prices moderated during the spring. Excluding food and energy, consumer inflation averaged 1.9% from January through September.

Employment rose by 44,000 in the first six months of the year on gains in part-time work and in services. Employment increased a further 62,000 in the third quarter, again on higher part-time work. Despite lower output in the second quarter, employment growth, measured year-over-over year, continued to lag output growth during the first half of 2016 (Chart 1).

Chart 1 Output and employment

Data table for Chart 1
Data table for Chart 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 1. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Real gross domestic product and Employment, calculated using year-over-year change (percent) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Real gross domestic product Employment
year-over-year change (percent)
2007  
January 1.4 2.5
February 1.7 2.4
March 1.8 2.3
April 1.9 2.1
May 2.3 1.7
June 2.8 2.0
July 2.6 2.3
August 2.8 2.3
September 2.7 2.4
October 2.6 2.6
November 2.5 2.5
December 1.4 2.2
2008  
January 2.0 2.0
February 1.3 2.1
March 1.2 1.8
April 1.2 2.0
May 0.8 1.8
June 0.7 1.5
July 1.1 1.1
August 0.7 1.2
September 0.9 1.3
October 0.7 1.1
November -0.4 0.3
December -1.4 0.1
2009  
January -2.2 -0.8
February -2.6 -1.3
March -3.5 -1.4
April -4.0 -1.7
May -4.1 -1.9
June -4.2 -1.9
July -4.4 -1.9
August -4.4 -1.9
September -3.7 -2.1
October -3.5 -2.2
November -1.9 -1.1
December -0.3 -1.0
2010  
January 0.8 0.0
February 1.9 0.4
March 3.2 0.6
April 3.4 1.3
May 4.0 1.6
June 4.1 2.1
July 4.1 2.0
August 4.5 2.1
September 3.7 1.7
October 4.1 1.8
November 3.9 1.5
December 4.4 1.8
2011  
January 4.0 1.9
February 3.3 1.8
March 3.1 1.8
April 3.3 1.6
May 2.6 1.4
June 2.8 1.2
July 3.4 1.4
August 3.6 1.5
September 3.9 1.7
October 3.4 1.4
November 3.1 1.2
December 2.9 1.2
2012  
January 2.6 0.7
February 2.5 0.7
March 2.4 1.1
April 2.7 1.5
May 2.9 1.4
June 2.6 1.3
July 2.1 1.0
August 1.4 1.2
September 1.0 1.3
October 1.0 1.5
November 1.2 1.7
December 0.7 1.8
2013  
January 1.2 2.0
February 1.8 2.2
March 2.0 1.5
April 1.7 1.1
May 2.0 1.5
June 1.6 1.4
July 2.0 1.5
August 2.5 1.4
September 2.9 1.2
October 3.4 1.2
November 3.2 1.0
December 2.7 0.7
2014  
January 2.3 0.7
February 2.5 0.6
March 2.3 1.0
April 2.5 0.7
May 2.8 0.4
June 3.4 0.5
July 2.8 0.6
August 2.2 0.3
September 2.2 0.5
October 2.1 0.8
November 1.8 0.7
December 2.5 0.7
2015  
January 2.1 0.7
February 1.5 0.7
March 1.3 0.8
April 0.9 0.7
May 0.3 1.1
June 0.5 1.0
July 0.9 0.9
August 1.3 1.1
September 0.5 0.9
October 0.3 0.8
November 0.7 0.7
December 0.6 0.9
2016  
January 1.5 0.7
February 1.5 0.7
March 1.3 0.7
April 1.6 0.8
May 1.1 0.6
June 1.2 0.6
July 1.2 0.4
August 1.3 0.4
September   0.8
October   0.8

Output declined on lower exports in the second quarter

Real GDP declined 0.4% in the second quarter of 2016, following a 0.6% gain in the first quarter. A broad-based decline in export volumes was the major contributor to the contraction in second quarter GDP (Chart 2). Goods exports fell 5.5%, following a 2.0% gain in the first quarter, as exports of energy-products, motor vehicles and parts, consumer goods, and metal ores and non-metallic mineral products declined (Chart 3).

 Chart 2 Real gross domestic product, selected aggregates

Data table for Chart 2
Data table for Chart 2
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 2. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Household expenditure, Government current expenditure, Non-residential business investment, Goods exports and Housing, calculated using index (Q1 2007=100) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Household expenditure Government current expenditure Non-residential business investment Goods exports Housing
index (Q1 2007=100)
2007  
First quarter 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Second quarter 101.5 100.5 100.5 101.6 100.6
Third quarter 102.4 101.9 100.9 99.7 100.3
Fourth quarter 104.3 101.9 102.7 96.9 100.7
2008  
First quarter 105.1 102.8 106.4 95.5 99.5
Second quarter 105.2 105.1 106.6 96.3 97.2
Third quarter 105.3 105.0 106.6 95.2 95.0
Fourth quarter 104.0 106.5 101.3 89.9 89.5
2009  
First quarter 103.7 106.6 85.7 81.4 83.7
Second quarter 104.5 107.4 82.1 77.3 86.7
Third quarter 105.7 108.0 82.8 80.1 90.2
Fourth quarter 106.4 108.8 85.2 82.1 95.8
2010  
First quarter 107.6 109.8 89.8 84.0 98.5
Second quarter 108.5 109.7 94.1 87.3 97.3
Third quarter 109.4 110.1 97.6 87.1 95.5
Fourth quarter 110.4 110.8 102.5 89.5 94.8
2011  
First quarter 110.6 110.9 105.4 89.8 96.8
Second quarter 111.1 111.4 108.0 87.7 96.6
Third quarter 111.5 111.8 108.4 93.3 99.1
Fourth quarter 112.2 112.1 111.5 94.5 100.1
2012  
First quarter 112.9 112.2 114.2 94.1 104.4
Second quarter 113.0 111.9 117.8 93.9 103.9
Third quarter 113.7 112.7 118.1 93.2 103.1
Fourth quarter 114.3 112.6 120.6 93.1 103.0
2013  
First quarter 114.9 112.7 120.9 95.6 102.3
Second quarter 115.8 112.2 120.8 96.5 104.0
Third quarter 116.7 112.7 120.8 96.0 103.6
Fourth quarter 117.4 113.1 119.9 97.6 103.1
2014  
First quarter 117.7 113.0 119.4 96.9 102.7
Second quarter 118.9 113.2 120.1 102.3 105.1
Third quarter 119.8 113.0 121.4 104.4 107.7
Fourth quarter 120.5 112.9 121.7 104.1 107.6
2015  
First quarter 120.5 114.2 113.9 104.1 109.3
Second quarter 121.1 115.0 109.3 104.6 109.3
Third quarter 121.8 115.2 106.0 107.3 110.1
Fourth quarter 122.4 115.3 102.5 106.7 110.6
2016  
First quarter 123.1 116.1 100.3 108.8 113.6
Second quarter 123.8 117.3 99.9 102.9 113.9

Chart 3 Exports, selected commodities

Data table for Chart 3
Data table for Chart 3
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 3. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Total exports of goods , Energy products , Motor vehicles and parts , Consumer goods and Forestry products and building and packaging materials , calculated using index (Q1 2007=100) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Total exports of goods Energy products Motor vehicles and parts Consumer goods Forestry products and building and packaging materials
index (Q1 2007=100)
2007  
First quarter 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Second quarter 101.6 102.6 97.7 99.3 100.1
Third quarter 99.7 103.2 94.0 96.3 95.0
Fourth quarter 96.9 100.1 91.7 90.7 89.6
2008  
First quarter 95.5 104.3 84.1 88.6 85.5
Second quarter 96.3 105.6 79.6 93.4 84.8
Third quarter 95.2 105.8 76.6 93.4 82.4
Fourth quarter 89.9 107.4 61.4 92.4 74.8
2009  
First quarter 81.4 102.3 42.0 89.9 66.4
Second quarter 77.3 96.8 43.0 85.7 61.8
Third quarter 80.1 104.1 56.3 81.6 62.9
Fourth quarter 82.1 100.6 65.0 83.4 64.1
2010  
First quarter 84.0 97.3 67.1 85.8 67.5
Second quarter 87.3 104.7 74.8 85.2 69.0
Third quarter 87.1 102.1 74.5 86.0 67.8
Fourth quarter 89.5 104.7 69.6 84.5 71.7
2011  
First quarter 89.8 111.0 77.2 84.6 71.5
Second quarter 87.7 106.7 72.6 81.8 72.3
Third quarter 93.3 115.1 73.3 87.8 72.0
Fourth quarter 94.5 114.3 77.9 88.8 71.7
2012  
First quarter 94.1 121.1 85.9 84.5 70.8
Second quarter 93.9 121.7 85.7 86.9 70.4
Third quarter 93.2 119.7 86.2 86.4 71.1
Fourth quarter 93.1 120.5 85.0 85.0 71.0
2013  
First quarter 95.6 125.7 83.4 88.9 72.4
Second quarter 96.5 124.1 83.7 90.1 72.9
Third quarter 96.0 127.7 82.1 90.7 74.6
Fourth quarter 97.6 131.4 81.9 93.4 75.6
2014  
First quarter 96.9 129.1 79.1 94.6 73.7
Second quarter 102.3 132.8 86.8 96.8 80.5
Third quarter 104.4 135.4 87.5 97.9 79.0
Fourth quarter 104.1 134.3 85.6 98.7 80.4
2015  
First quarter 104.1 139.6 80.3 98.3 82.1
Second quarter 104.6 140.0 84.5 100.5 82.2
Third quarter 107.3 142.6 89.2 109.8 82.3
Fourth quarter 106.7 137.7 90.6 109.0 85.0
2016  
First quarter 108.8 140.9 96.5 111.8 87.8
Second quarter 102.9 130.3 90.9 104.1 82.9

Exports of crude oil and crude bitumen were 9.6% lower in the second quarter, while refined petroleum energy products declined by 19.6%. Motor vehicle and parts exports declined 5.8% in the second quarter, following four consecutive quarterly gains. Despite this recent decline, automotive exports in the second quarter were 7.5% higher on a year-over-year basis, as passenger cars and light trucks posted notable gains during the second half of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016.

Chart 4 Business gross fixed capital formations

Data table for Chart 4
Data table for Chart 4
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 4. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Total business gross fixed capital formation, Residential structures, Non-residential structures, Machinery and equipment and Intellectual property products, calculated using index (Q1 2007=100) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Total business gross fixed capital formation Residential structures Non-residential structures Machinery and equipment Intellectual property products
index (Q1 2007=100)
2007  
First quarter 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Second quarter 100.6 100.6 99.8 101.3 100.7
Third quarter 100.8 100.3 100.2 101.6 102.1
Fourth quarter 102.1 100.7 100.5 105.0 104.5
2008  
First quarter 104.0 99.5 107.2 105.4 107.6
Second quarter 103.3 97.2 108.7 104.1 107.6
Third quarter 102.2 95.0 109.3 103.3 105.8
Fourth quarter 96.8 89.5 106.6 95.3 100.1
2009  
First quarter 85.1 83.7 91.8 79.1 88.0
Second quarter 83.9 86.7 85.7 77.9 85.4
Third quarter 85.5 90.2 84.9 80.3 85.6
Fourth quarter 89.0 95.8 85.7 84.3 87.7
2010  
First quarter 92.9 98.5 93.9 84.9 91.8
Second quarter 95.1 97.3 98.6 88.8 95.6
Third quarter 96.5 95.5 104.7 89.2 97.6
Fourth quarter 98.8 94.8 111.2 92.1 97.7
2011  
First quarter 100.7 96.8 115.5 93.3 95.6
Second quarter 102.6 96.6 114.6 100.2 101.0
Third quarter 104.1 99.1 119.5 95.0 104.0
Fourth quarter 106.1 100.1 124.0 96.5 104.1
2012  
First quarter 109.1 104.4 127.3 98.3 104.7
Second quarter 110.3 103.9 133.1 99.1 99.8
Third quarter 110.2 103.1 133.7 99.0 100.7
Fourth quarter 111.4 103.0 138.1 99.1 99.7
2013  
First quarter 110.9 102.3 141.5 95.5 96.7
Second quarter 111.3 104.0 143.0 93.2 94.5
Third quarter 111.3 103.6 144.9 90.7 96.5
Fourth quarter 110.7 103.1 144.1 89.8 96.1
2014  
First quarter 109.9 102.7 143.2 89.8 92.7
Second quarter 111.0 105.1 142.9 91.7 91.8
Third quarter 112.6 107.7 142.9 94.8 91.2
Fourth quarter 112.7 107.6 142.1 96.5 91.8
2015  
First quarter 108.4 109.3 129.2 95.2 83.1
Second quarter 105.7 109.3 123.9 91.2 80.9
Third quarter 104.2 110.1 119.3 89.7 80.1
Fourth quarter 102.5 110.6 114.4 87.8 79.4
2016  
First quarter 102.4 113.6 110.6 87.6 78.5
Second quarter 102.2 113.9 109.4 88.0 78.5

Non-residential business investment edged down 0.5% in the second quarter of 2016, marking the sixth consecutive quarterly decline. Lower outlays on non-residential structures (-1.1%) weighed on business investment, as capital spending on engineering structures contracted for the 11th consecutive quarter. Outlays on engineering structures were 13% lower on a year-over-year basis, and about 27% below levels in the second quarter of 2014 (Chart 4).

Business outlays on machinery and equipment edged up 0.5% in the second quarter, after five consecutive quarterly declines. Spending on computer equipment supported the gain, while outlays on industrial equipment declined.

Business spending on intellectual property products was little changed in the second quarter, as higher outlays on software and mineral exploration and evaluation offset lower spending on research and development. Outlays on mineral exploration and evaluation edged up for the second consecutive quarter, after notable declines during 2015. Outlays on exploration and evaluation in the second quarter were about 10% lower on a year-over-year basis, and down 48% from levels in the second quarter of 2014.

Business investment in residential structures increased 0.3% in the second quarter, after a 2.7% increase in the first. Ownership transfer costs, reflecting higher activity in resale markets, supported gains during the first half of the year. Outlays on new construction and renovations declined in the second quarter, following gains in the first.

Consumer spending continued to support economic growth during the first half of the year. Household expenditures rose 0.5% in the second quarter, after increasing 0.6% in the first. Higher spending on services and non-durables supported the gain, as spending on durables declined. Household expenditures on water, electricity, insurance, and transport services strengthened in the second quarter, while vehicle purchases fell 1.2% following four consecutive quarterly increases.

The wildfires in Northern Alberta, combined with uncertain market conditions in the energy sector, had a major impact on the pace of economic growth during the second quarter. Excluding crude petroleum from exports, imports and inventories, real output edged up 0.1%.Note 2

The wildfires also contributed to lower productivity in the second quarter. Labour productivity in the business sector fell 0.3%, following a 0.4% increase to the start the year. Productivity in mining and oil and gas extraction edged down as the decline in real output (-6.7%) outpaced the reduction in hours worked (-6.2%). Productivity in manufacturing also declined in the second quarter. Industrial capacity utilization declined to 80.0%, the lowest level since late 2010. Capacity utilization in oil and gas extraction declined to 73.9%, the lowest level since the third quarter of 2012.

After weighing on national income growth in recent quarters, improvements in the terms of trade supported an increase in real gross domestic income (+0.2%) in the second quarter. Following a 0.3% increase to start the year, nominal GDP was little changed in the second quarter.  

In the United States, real GDP, measured on an annualized basis, rose 1.4% in the second quarter of 2016, following a 0.8% gain in the first.Note 3 According to advance estimates, U.S. real GDP strengthened to 2.9% in the third quarter. U.S. nominal GDP increased 4.4% (annualized) and 3.7% in the second, following a 1.3% gain in the first.

Output strengthened at mid-year on higher goods production

After a 0.6% decline in May on lower oil production, real GDP in Canada rebounded in June (+0.6%) and July (+0.4%) as oil and gas extraction strengthened. Output rose 0.2% in August.  

Following declines in February and March, goods production rebounded into the summer months. By August, the output of goods industries was similar (-0.1%) to levels at year end. Utilities supported goods production during the first half of the year, while construction output continued to trend lower on declines in engineering and non-residential buildings (Chart 5). Residential construction also declined from April to July.

Chart 5 Real gross domestic product, selected industries

Data table for Chart 5
Data table for Chart 5
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 5. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction , Construction, Manufacturing and Retail trade, calculated using index (January 2007=100) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction Construction Manufacturing Retail trade
index (January 2007=100)
2007  
January 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
February 101.2 100.2 100.5 100.1
March 101.8 100.7 100.5 100.4
April 99.4 101.1 100.8 102.0
May 101.2 102.1 100.0 102.6
June 101.7 102.3 100.2 102.4
July 100.2 102.4 99.3 102.5
August 102.4 102.8 99.0 103.9
September 101.5 102.8 98.7 102.9
October 99.3 102.0 98.7 103.3
November 98.4 102.2 98.5 104.7
December 97.4 103.4 95.9 106.4
2008  
January 98.7 104.8 95.6 107.0
February 97.4 105.1 95.9 106.1
March 99.0 104.8 94.3 106.2
April 98.6 103.7 95.6 106.6
May 96.7 105.1 96.1 106.5
June 98.3 104.7 95.5 106.9
July 101.0 104.7 95.9 106.4
August 100.2 104.5 94.2 106.6
September 98.4 105.1 94.2 107.4
October 99.2 105.8 92.8 106.3
November 97.5 104.3 91.2 104.0
December 94.2 102.1 87.2 101.3
2009  
January 97.0 98.8 84.1 103.1
February 93.5 97.5 83.2 102.9
March 88.2 96.3 82.0 102.7
April 85.4 95.7 80.7 102.6
May 85.8 96.4 79.7 103.1
June 86.6 96.5 79.0 103.3
July 85.5 96.8 79.6 103.4
August 83.9 97.5 80.0 103.5
September 87.0 98.6 80.9 104.1
October 87.0 99.6 80.5 104.0
November 88.2 101.5 81.8 102.3
December 87.2 102.5 81.4 104.0
2010  
January 90.0 104.3 82.3 105.6
February 92.8 104.8 83.4 105.6
March 94.0 105.2 84.7 107.8
April 93.6 105.6 84.6 105.4
May 98.3 105.4 85.0 105.0
June 97.7 105.9 86.1 105.7
July 97.5 106.1 86.1 106.0
August 97.1 106.8 86.0 106.4
September 95.5 107.1 85.4 106.4
October 98.9 107.5 85.3 106.0
November 100.1 107.8 84.8 107.7
December 102.4 108.0 86.2 107.1
2011  
January 100.0 109.0 87.0 106.8
February 99.5 109.4 86.3 106.8
March 101.8 108.8 86.9 105.3
April 102.5 108.6 86.9 106.5
May 98.8 108.4 86.4 106.5
June 100.5 109.5 86.8 107.9
July 103.6 110.3 88.1 106.9
August 107.3 111.1 87.9 106.8
September 107.6 111.6 88.9 107.1
October 105.9 111.8 89.1 107.8
November 105.2 112.3 89.6 107.8
December 105.6 113.5 91.1 109.5
2012  
January 105.8 114.7 90.7 108.5
February 103.1 115.8 89.3 107.3
March 102.6 117.7 89.3 107.9
April 102.8 119.2 90.2 107.1
May 102.2 118.8 89.7 107.5
June 100.9 119.3 89.8 107.5
July 99.1 119.5 89.8 108.5
August 97.5 119.7 89.5 107.4
September 97.8 120.3 88.5 107.4
October 99.5 121.1 87.5 107.3
November 101.5 121.4 88.5 107.7
December 101.7 121.7 87.9 107.1
2013  
January 102.8 121.1 89.0 109.3
February 105.0 121.4 89.2 108.6
March 105.6 122.0 89.4 109.0
April 104.6 122.4 88.9 109.6
May 103.6 122.6 88.7 111.4
June 103.3 119.7 88.7 109.9
July 105.7 122.0 88.5 111.3
August 107.3 122.2 88.7 111.8
September 107.5 121.9 90.1 112.6
October 109.1 122.1 90.7 113.0
November 108.4 122.3 90.6 113.4
December 108.1 121.1 88.9 112.4
2014  
January 109.7 121.6 89.2 112.5
February 112.0 122.3 90.8 113.1
March 113.3 121.7 90.3 112.8
April 114.8 121.6 90.8 114.2
May 114.6 123.2 92.0 114.4
June 116.1 123.8 92.5 116.0
July 113.3 124.8 92.9 116.1
August 109.5 123.9 91.8 115.5
September 113.4 124.0 92.8 116.0
October 115.3 124.5 92.6 116.0
November 113.7 124.6 92.1 116.9
December 112.3 124.2 93.7 115.4
2015  
January 111.4 122.5 92.6 114.5
February 110.3 120.5 91.6 116.3
March 107.7 119.4 92.1 117.3
April 106.2 118.6 91.6 116.2
May 106.1 118.9 91.2 116.2
June 109.5 117.9 91.3 116.9
July 112.1 117.7 92.3 117.3
August 112.2 117.6 92.7 118.6
September 108.5 117.0 92.0 118.8
October 108.7 116.1 91.8 118.6
November 110.0 115.6 92.2 120.5
December 110.2 115.8 93.3 118.4
2016  
January 112.0 115.7 93.9 120.0
February 111.0 115.4 93.0 121.9
March 107.4 115.6 92.7 120.6
April 105.9 115.5 93.2 120.7
May 99.5 114.5 91.5 121.1
June 103.5 114.1 92.8 120.2
July 107.6 113.1 92.8 120.3
August 109.1 113.6 93.0 120.1

After strengthening into early 2016, manufacturing output subsequently moderated, before falling 1.8% in May as supply disruptions affected both petroleum refineries and auto production. As of August, manufacturing output was down slightly from year-end levels, as output rebounded in the summer months. Gains in food, primary metals and chemicals offset declines. Motor vehicle and parts production moderated in the first half of 2016. Output in the auto sector in August was 0.4% above levels at year end.

The output of service industries advanced from January to July, supported by gains in finance and insurance, real estate, and information and cultural services. Wholesale trade posted increases in May and June as building materials and machinery and equipment supported gains. Professional, scientific and technical services also increased during the spring as gains in computer systems design offset lower output in architecture, engineering and related services. The output of service industries was unchanged in August as activity at real estate agents and brokers declined.   

Non-conventional oil extraction rebounded from wildfires

Oil and gas extraction declined from February to May on lower non-conventional oil production.Note 4 Non-conventional output fell 5.7% in April as maintenance activities affected production, and an additional 22.2% in May as many operations shut down in response to the wildfires in Northern Alberta. Non-conventional production ramped up in June (+14.5%) and July (+17.3%) as affected production was brought back on line. As of August, non-conventional output was down 2.0% from levels at year end. Conversely, conventional oil and gas extraction strengthened from April to August. Conventional output in August was 3.7% higher than levels in December 2015 (Chart 6).

Chart 6 Real gross domestic product, selected industries

Data table for Chart 6
Data table for Chart 6
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 6. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Conventional oil and gas extraction, Non-conventional oil extraction, Support activities for mining and oil and gas extraction, Crude oil and other pipeline transportation and Petroleum refineries, calculated using index (January 2007=100) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Conventional oil and gas extraction Non-conventional oil extraction Support activities for mining and oil and gas extraction Crude oil and other pipeline transportation Petroleum refineries
index (January 2007=100)
2007  
January 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
February 100.2 108.1 98.8 97.7 99.8
March 100.3 112.5 95.5 96.6 100.7
April 103.4 102.3 80.3 96.8 102.7
May 103.7 100.0 88.1 96.1 100.6
June 105.5 94.4 95.1 93.2 101.5
July 99.5 101.6 100.9 96.6 104.6
August 100.8 110.6 94.9 95.3 102.1
September 101.0 106.4 94.1 94.8 101.6
October 99.4 105.1 90.8 94.0 101.4
November 98.3 101.8 93.4 93.6 98.9
December 97.9 93.2 91.6 91.7 100.3
2008  
January 95.7 104.9 94.3 92.3 99.8
February 94.7 102.5 92.2 91.7 97.4
March 95.9 105.7 93.3 90.6 91.6
April 97.5 101.6 89.4 89.4 97.6
May 95.4 97.9 90.3 91.7 98.3
June 93.5 105.2 106.8 89.4 97.9
July 97.2 107.9 111.6 86.8 96.4
August 94.5 110.9 111.6 87.6 94.0
September 94.4 106.3 108.2 86.1 93.9
October 95.9 107.3 112.2 89.8 96.1
November 93.6 109.4 110.0 88.1 97.9
December 91.1 112.9 89.7 90.7 98.2
2009  
January 92.1 115.1 91.7 88.3 100.2
February 91.4 121.6 86.4 85.2 102.4
March 88.5 118.2 64.7 84.3 103.0
April 85.9 111.9 69.9 83.2 98.2
May 82.4 124.7 68.1 80.7 103.6
June 85.8 127.2 67.2 84.3 101.2
July 86.3 128.8 62.4 83.4 100.7
August 81.7 122.8 68.7 82.8 100.4
September 82.1 127.7 72.7 86.4 95.1
October 81.3 130.1 70.2 87.3 94.6
November 82.9 130.4 80.3 87.8 98.4
December 81.2 120.8 92.0 85.7 99.6
2010  
January 83.6 113.8 90.3 82.0 100.9
February 82.4 127.1 98.0 81.4 94.6
March 83.6 131.8 89.6 87.6 94.5
April 83.8 135.1 87.2 85.8 91.4
May 85.4 144.8 97.8 87.9 94.4
June 85.3 145.7 94.3 87.8 98.3
July 86.1 140.3 94.2 89.8 95.2
August 88.4 136.5 88.7 90.0 93.7
September 87.3 131.9 81.0 80.1 96.9
October 86.6 139.0 92.8 82.6 84.0
November 86.7 148.9 92.9 87.7 89.1
December 88.4 153.5 97.6 87.6 92.0
2011  
January 88.4 146.5 89.1 97.8 88.0
February 86.3 148.5 88.9 102.6 87.6
March 87.6 146.8 104.3 99.2 88.6
April 88.1 151.6 101.8 95.2 89.9
May 86.9 135.6 102.8 94.5 78.8
June 85.4 145.7 103.2 96.5 83.3
July 87.7 151.0 105.1 100.9 84.0
August 89.5 154.0 123.7 106.1 86.7
September 89.9 155.4 123.9 106.2 95.1
October 89.1 151.4 124.1 106.2 91.1
November 87.9 151.7 123.7 104.0 89.3
December 88.0 153.1 120.6 105.7 88.4
2012  
January 87.9 159.9 121.2 111.1 87.1
February 86.0 156.4 123.7 109.6 90.3
March 85.1 145.7 127.9 109.4 86.8
April 84.8 155.0 118.7 113.7 90.9
May 82.4 162.0 110.3 116.3 87.5
June 79.6 158.9 110.0 116.0 86.5
July 78.0 160.8 104.6 114.8 91.0
August 76.5 160.3 102.6 114.1 90.1
September 76.6 158.9 106.3 111.1 90.1
October 80.9 161.4 102.4 105.5 93.7
November 83.7 155.6 105.0 110.0 92.2
December 82.1 163.5 104.9 115.0 93.4
2013  
January 83.0 162.6 111.9 116.4 94.3
February 83.9 161.9 116.3 117.1 89.5
March 84.7 166.4 109.7 121.3 91.9
April 84.1 161.8 109.5 117.6 91.1
May 86.2 154.5 104.7 115.6 80.5
June 87.0 159.6 100.2 115.8 93.8
July 88.2 163.0 105.9 115.8 88.8
August 88.4 172.6 111.6 119.9 91.5
September 88.7 168.8 113.4 122.4 95.9
October 86.9 173.3 116.6 127.0 87.2
November 86.7 178.6 109.4 126.1 91.4
December 87.8 177.7 105.7 119.7 87.3
2014  
January 87.7 175.9 121.2 123.5 86.7
February 88.8 175.7 125.5 125.3 91.7
March 88.7 179.5 130.7 127.8 82.1
April 88.6 182.1 138.5 127.6 87.7
May 89.6 183.1 135.5 132.1 89.8
June 91.3 186.2 129.6 134.3 94.3
July 90.3 180.2 122.1 133.5 90.4
August 86.8 178.3 113.4 134.0 90.1
September 89.8 188.1 114.7 135.1 85.9
October 90.6 195.0 115.3 136.4 86.1
November 90.6 186.4 117.3 136.7 89.0
December 89.1 184.4 114.3 137.1 87.5
2015  
January 89.9 195.4 91.4 133.7 88.2
February 89.0 203.4 75.0 134.9 87.7
March 87.4 196.4 65.2 133.7 91.2
April 86.8 186.2 75.7 143.7 87.1
May 84.5 188.3 84.4 140.5 90.2
June 85.0 198.3 88.2 140.4 87.8
July 85.5 208.6 84.3 148.6 86.7
August 86.3 207.5 85.1 151.8 86.2
September 87.1 191.7 77.9 150.0 86.9
October 85.3 198.9 78.9 143.4 87.0
November 86.8 204.1 79.4 149.6 84.8
December 86.8 203.5 78.8 152.2 90.0
2016  
January 87.8 205.8 81.8 160.5 92.2
February 87.3 203.4 78.7 156.0 89.3
March 86.9 200.3 67.2 151.8 91.8
April 87.7 188.9 66.8 147.3 100.0
May 88.9 147.0 66.2 143.0 84.5
June 89.0 168.3 65.5 141.3 90.7
July 89.4 197.4 64.5 146.9 98.1
August 90.0 199.5 66.8 151.2 95.4

Establishments that provide support activities for mining and oil and gas extraction, including rigging and drilling services, reduced output during the first half of 2016 on consecutive declines from February to July. Output in this sector in August was 15% lower than at year end, and 52% lower than peak levels in April 2014. Crude oil and other pipeline transportation services edged down in the first half of 2016.

After gains in three of the first four months of 2016, the output of petroleum refineries fell 15.5% in May as the wildfires in Northern Alberta combined with maintenance and turnaround activities affected production. Refineries posted notable gains in June (+7.4%) and July (+8.1%). Overall, refinery output in August was 5.9% higher than at year end.

Part-time work led employment gains

Total employment increased by 44,000 (+0.2%) during the first six months of 2016 on private sector gains.  Higher employment among core-age workers (those aged 25 to 54) and women accounted for much of the increase during the first half of the year (Chart 7). The employment rate (employed individuals expressed as a percentage of the working-age population) edged down during the first half of the year, averaging 61.1% from January to June. The unemployment rate was 6.8% in June, down from 7.2% at the start of the year.     

Chart 7 Employment by sex

Data table for Chart 7
Data table for Chart 7
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 7. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Total , Men and Women, calculated using year-over-year change (thousands of persons) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Total Men Women
year-over-year change (thousands of persons)
2007  
January 400.7 170.0 230.7
February 382.8 125.7 257.1
March 380.5 97.6 282.9
April 335.9 115.9 219.9
May 282.2 109.5 172.6
June 335.6 154.4 181.3
July 376.2 166.9 209.3
August 378.2 144.0 234.2
September 398.4 173.3 225.0
October 431.5 183.3 248.2
November 420.3 187.4 232.9
December 359.4 185.0 174.3
2008  
January 331.3 181.8 149.5
February 355.6 197.3 158.3
March 292.1 188.8 103.2
April 326.7 187.2 139.7
May 308.6 142.9 165.8
June 244.6 109.9 134.7
July 193.1 89.5 103.6
August 204.2 123.6 80.7
September 220.5 129.3 91.3
October 193.5 113.4 80.1
November 55.7 19.6 36.1
December 21.3 -22.4 43.8
2009  
January -129.4 -146.5 17.1
February -227.4 -218.3 -9.1
March -230.3 -238.5 8.2
April -292.9 -277.0 -15.9
May -323.9 -272.8 -51.2
June -326.6 -284.7 -41.9
July -317.3 -260.4 -56.9
August -327.8 -291.8 -36.0
September -361.3 -345.0 -16.3
October -382.2 -310.7 -71.6
November -180.2 -220.5 40.3
December -164.5 -187.6 23.1
2010  
January 4.9 -81.2 86.1
February 74.7 -1.6 76.3
March 105.4 32.1 73.3
April 225.1 126.1 98.9
May 266.0 164.2 101.9
June 345.6 217.5 128.1
July 336.3 206.2 130.1
August 342.3 228.9 113.3
September 279.1 229.5 49.6
October 306.8 196.9 110.0
November 257.4 215.2 42.2
December 307.9 243.5 64.4
2011  
January 315.4 241.0 74.4
February 294.9 208.9 86.1
March 305.4 226.7 78.6
April 265.0 187.4 77.7
May 232.9 143.9 89.0
June 210.2 141.0 69.2
July 238.8 146.8 91.9
August 250.9 146.8 104.2
September 294.5 174.9 119.6
October 239.3 165.8 73.4
November 202.6 128.2 74.4
December 200.8 99.4 101.5
2012  
January 121.9 68.5 53.4
February 122.9 91.6 31.1
March 194.0 107.8 86.3
April 250.7 128.9 121.7
May 246.7 149.5 97.2
June 222.6 116.1 106.5
July 179.2 91.0 88.3
August 200.6 86.2 114.5
September 227.3 84.3 143.0
October 266.7 81.5 185.2
November 301.4 98.7 202.7
December 312.1 116.9 195.1
2013  
January 351.4 153.0 198.5
February 377.6 165.5 212.2
March 253.0 106.4 146.7
April 192.9 81.0 111.9
May 253.6 115.1 138.5
June 236.1 99.0 137.2
July 255.5 119.8 135.7
August 247.4 117.5 129.8
September 216.8 119.1 97.7
October 206.6 131.5 75.2
November 183.5 127.1 56.4
December 130.9 104.7 26.2
2014  
January 131.8 108.4 23.3
February 114.4 83.2 31.2
March 170.2 117.7 52.4
April 121.8 80.6 41.2
May 67.6 34.8 32.8
June 81.9 36.8 45.0
July 110.8 61.2 49.6
August 57.2 68.8 -11.6
September 90.4 71.9 18.5
October 140.8 106.5 34.3
November 119.4 86.6 32.9
December 120.1 112.2 7.9
2015  
January 130.9 85.1 45.8
February 129.7 91.4 38.3
March 133.4 74.4 59.0
April 132.4 85.0 47.4
May 196.4 143.6 52.8
June 176.4 163.3 13.0
July 156.7 133.9 22.9
August 190.8 124.9 66.0
September 159.1 103.8 55.3
October 142.4 75.1 67.3
November 124.8 70.6 54.1
December 155.4 48.0 107.4
2016  
January 125.5 45.9 79.6
February 117.9 46.6 71.3
March 129.6 43.5 86.1
April 144.0 50.4 93.6
May 108.5 17.6 90.9
June 107.6 -12.1 119.8
July 71.4 -33.9 105.2
August 77.4 -19.2 96.5
September 138.8 20.8 118.0
October 139.6 29.9 109.8

Part-time employment increased 37,000 in the first half of 2016 while full-time work was little changed (+7,000) (Chart 8). Employment in services rose by 125,000, led by gains in accommodation and food services and in information, cultural and recreation services. Employment in goods industries fell by 82,000 during the first six months of the year on declines in manufacturing (-52,000) and natural resources (-35,000).  

Chart 8 Type of employment

Data table for Chart 8
Data table for Chart 8
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 8. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Full-time and Part-time, calculated using year-over-year change (thousands of persons) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Full-time Part-time
year-over-year change (thousands of persons)
2007  
January 287.7 113.0
February 324.8 58.0
March 308.7 71.8
April 247.1 88.8
May 160.5 121.6
June 332.8 2.8
July 314.7 61.6
August 267.5 110.7
September 299.5 98.9
October 270.1 161.4
November 296.1 124.3
December 265.0 94.4
2008  
January 279.7 51.6
February 311.5 44.1
March 249.1 43.0
April 289.7 37.1
May 204.1 104.5
June 83.2 161.4
July 86.0 107.2
August 139.9 64.3
September 114.5 106.1
October 124.7 68.9
November 23.2 32.5
December -50.2 71.5
2009  
January -185.2 55.8
February -365.5 138.1
March -369.0 138.7
April -391.4 98.5
May -416.0 92.2
June -436.9 110.3
July -402.7 85.2
August -482.6 154.8
September -372.1 10.8
October -364.1 -18.3
November -221.0 40.8
December -166.0 1.5
2010  
January -67.4 72.3
February 118.4 -43.7
March 89.3 16.1
April 138.3 86.7
May 230.7 35.2
June 303.0 42.6
July 118.4 218.0
August 206.9 135.4
September 134.8 144.3
October 159.5 147.3
November 113.6 143.9
December 180.3 127.5
2011  
January 209.7 105.6
February 96.4 198.5
March 260.8 44.5
April 236.1 28.9
May 193.8 39.2
June 186.6 23.6
July 382.9 -144.1
August 353.2 -102.2
September 360.4 -65.8
October 232.8 6.5
November 269.2 -66.7
December 231.2 -30.2
2012  
January 190.4 -68.5
February 229.0 -106.1
March 212.3 -18.2
April 250.8 -0.1
May 225.5 21.2
June 237.4 -14.8
July 213.0 -33.9
August 203.5 -2.9
September 188.4 38.8
October 288.2 -21.4
November 253.4 48.0
December 273.2 38.8
2013  
January 289.5 62.1
February 327.2 50.4
March 195.4 57.6
April 183.2 9.7
May 275.1 -21.6
June 199.9 36.3
July 159.2 96.4
August 153.5 93.8
September 167.6 49.2
October 172.5 34.1
November 136.4 47.2
December 52.4 78.5
2014  
January 70.9 60.7
February 73.6 40.8
March 109.2 61.0
April 55.5 66.3
May -63.9 131.6
June 25.1 56.7
July 17.1 93.6
August -5.8 63.0
September 20.5 69.9
October 24.7 116.1
November 66.9 52.5
December 156.3 -36.2
2015  
January 114.2 16.7
February 120.9 8.8
March 116.7 16.7
April 167.5 -35.1
May 240.3 -43.9
June 243.4 -67.1
July 258.2 -101.4
August 318.9 -128.1
September 195.7 -36.6
October 178.7 -36.2
November 197.8 -73.1
December 147.4 8.0
2016  
January 171.5 -45.9
February 81.6 36.3
March 133.7 -4.1
April 88.2 55.9
May 127.0 -18.5
June 31.2 76.5
July -33.1 104.5
August -35.7 113.1
September 50.2 88.5
October 15.5 124.0

Gains from December to June were concentrated in British Columbia (+45,000) and Ontario (+37,000), while employment in Alberta fell by 37,000 (Chart 9). The unemployment rate in British Columbia declined during the first half of the year, reaching 5.9% in June. The unemployment rate in Quebec and Ontario also decreased, to 7.0% and 6.4% in June.   

Chart 9 Employment, selected provinces

Data table for Chart 9
Data table for Chart 9
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 9. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, calculated using index (January 2013=100) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Alberta Ontario Quebec British Columbia
index (January 2013=100)
2013  
January 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
February 99.8 100.2 99.8 100.9
March 99.9 100.2 99.3 100.1
April 100.1 100.3 99.7 100.8
May 100.9 100.8 99.7 100.7
June 100.7 100.8 99.5 100.7
July 101.0 100.8 99.3 100.6
August 102.2 101.1 99.1 101.2
September 101.8 101.2 99.5 100.8
October 101.6 101.1 100.1 100.5
November 101.9 101.3 100.3 100.1
December 101.7 101.1 100.0 100.8
2014  
January 101.7 101.1 100.1 101.2
February 102.6 101.4 99.3 101.0
March 102.5 101.5 99.8 101.3
April 102.5 101.6 99.2 101.4
May 102.9 101.4 99.1 101.3
June 103.5 101.1 99.6 101.4
July 103.3 101.5 99.6 101.2
August 102.8 101.5 99.7 100.9
September 103.4 101.7 99.8 101.0
October 103.9 102.4 99.6 101.0
November 104.1 101.9 100.0 101.3
December 104.6 101.6 99.7 101.5
2015  
January 104.9 101.7 100.1 101.7
February 104.3 101.9 100.5 101.4
March 104.5 101.9 100.6 101.6
April 105.0 101.7 100.9 100.5
May 104.6 102.3 100.8 102.0
June 104.4 102.5 100.1 102.7
July 104.3 102.5 100.6 102.5
August 104.6 102.5 100.6 102.8
September 104.9 102.1 100.8 103.2
October 104.3 102.5 100.7 104.2
November 103.9 102.4 100.6 104.1
December 103.7 102.9 100.9 103.8
2016  
January 103.3 103.2 100.8 103.8
February 103.4 103.0 100.9 104.4
March 104.2 103.2 100.7 104.8
April 103.3 103.2 100.7 105.4
May 102.2 103.5 101.2 105.1
June 102.1 103.4 101.0 105.8
July 102.0 102.9 100.9 106.3
August 102.1 103.0 101.4 106.0
September 102.8 103.3 102.3 106.0
October 103.2 103.6 102.4 106.6

More recently, employment rose 62,000 in the third quarter, bringing the net increase during the first nine months of 2016 to 106,000. Gains in part-time work, among older workers, and in Quebec led the third-quarter increase. The unemployment rate for Canada as a whole stood at 7.0% in August and September, after edging below 7% from May to July. Employment rose 44,000 in October on gains in part-time work.

Labour market conditions in Alberta

Labour market conditions in Alberta deteriorated markedly since oil prices began to decline in mid-2014. Total employment in Alberta declined by 33,000 since the end of 2014 when unemployment in the province was below 5 percent. Losses in full-time work over this 21-month period totalled 91,000. Overall employment in goods industries in Alberta was down 84,000 during this period on losses in natural resources and manufacturing. Since the end of 2014, losses in both of these sectors were about 30,000 each.Note 5

The province’s unemployment rate rose above the 8% mark during the summer of 2016, averaging 8.5% from July to September (Chart 10). This marks the first time that the unemployment rate in the province has risen above 8% since mid-1995. In October 2016, the unemployment rate among core-aged individuals was 7.4%, up from 3.9% at the start of 2015.

Chart 10 Employment and unemployment rates, Alberta

Data table for Chart 10
Data table for Chart 10
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 10. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Employment rate and Unemployment rate, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Employment rate Unemployment rate
percent
2007  
January 71.5 3.6
February 71.7 3.7
March 71.5 3.6
April 71.6 3.7
May 71.4 3.8
June 71.7 3.7
July 71.8 3.3
August 71.8 3.4
September 71.8 3.5
October 71.6 3.5
November 71.6 3.7
December 72.2 3.3
2008  
January 72.1 3.7
February 72.0 3.7
March 72.1 3.6
April 72.1 3.4
May 72.0 3.6
June 72.0 3.3
July 71.9 3.5
August 71.8 3.5
September 72.2 3.6
October 72.7 3.3
November 72.0 3.6
December 71.2 4.4
2009  
January 71.2 4.9
February 70.5 5.4
March 70.1 5.9
April 70.0 6.1
May 69.5 7.0
June 69.3 6.8
July 69.1 7.1
August 68.8 7.3
September 69.1 6.8
October 68.4 7.2
November 68.9 7.3
December 69.2 6.6
2010  
January 68.6 6.6
February 68.3 6.8
March 68.1 7.2
April 68.4 7.2
May 68.3 6.6
June 68.3 6.6
July 68.1 6.6
August 68.1 6.3
September 67.9 6.3
October 68.2 6.3
November 68.1 5.7
December 68.2 5.7
2011  
January 68.9 5.9
February 69.3 5.6
March 69.3 5.4
April 68.9 5.7
May 68.6 5.6
June 69.5 5.4
July 69.8 5.6
August 70.1 5.5
September 70.1 5.4
October 70.1 5.1
November 70.1 5.1
December 70.4 4.8
2012  
January 70.2 5.0
February 69.7 5.2
March 70.1 5.0
April 70.4 4.7
May 70.5 4.5
June 70.2 4.5
July 70.1 4.5
August 70.2 4.3
September 70.1 4.5
October 70.4 4.5
November 70.3 4.3
December 70.1 4.5
2013  
January 70.1 4.5
February 69.8 4.7
March 69.6 4.7
April 69.6 4.4
May 69.9 4.5
June 69.7 4.8
July 69.7 4.6
August 70.3 4.7
September 69.8 4.3
October 69.5 4.5
November 69.6 4.8
December 69.4 4.8
2014  
January 69.2 4.7
February 69.7 4.4
March 69.4 5.0
April 69.2 5.0
May 69.3 4.6
June 69.5 4.9
July 69.2 4.6
August 68.7 5.2
September 69.0 4.6
October 69.3 4.4
November 69.3 4.4
December 69.5 4.8
2015  
January 69.5 4.6
February 69.1 5.4
March 69.1 5.6
April 69.3 5.6
May 68.9 5.9
June 68.6 5.8
July 68.4 6.2
August 68.5 6.1
September 68.6 6.6
October 68.2 6.6
November 67.8 6.9
December 67.7 7.0
2016  
January 67.3 7.4
February 67.3 7.9
March 67.7 7.1
April 67.1 7.2
May 66.3 7.8
June 66.2 7.9
July 66.1 8.6
August 66.1 8.4
September 66.5 8.5
October 66.7 8.5

The employment rate in Alberta has trended lower since early 2015, edging below 67% in recent months. This overall decline reflects lower age-specific rates within the province’s working-age population.Note 6 From January 2015 to October 2016, the employment rate among people aged 25 to 54 fell 3.1 percentage points, from 84.4% to 81.3%. It fell 2.6 percentage points among youth aged 15 to 24, to 60.0%. Among individuals aged 55 and over, the employment rate declined 1.5 percentage points to 42.6%. Despite these recent declines, the overall employment rate in Alberta remains about 5 percentage points higher than in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.Note 7

Average weekly earnings in Alberta, measured year-over-year, continued to trend downward in early 2016, largely reflecting lower earnings and employment in resource extraction and in professional, scientific and technical services. The change in average weekly earnings in Alberta, measured year-over-year, has been negative since mid-2015, and has contributed to slower wage growth for Canada as a whole. Despite these declines, average payroll earnings in Alberta, in level terms, remained 17% higher in August 2016 than the national average, albeit down from 23% at the start of 2015.Note 8

Widening trade deficits as exports trended lower in the first half of 2016

Canada’s merchandise trade deficit widened in the first half of 2016, reaching $3.9 billion in June (Chart 11). Lower exports to Asia contributed to trade deficits early in the year, while declines to the United States and the United Kingdom bolstered deficits during the spring.

Chart 11 Merchandise trade balance, energy and non-energy commodities

Data table for Chart 11
Data table for Chart 11
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 11. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Total, Energy and Non-Energy, calculated using billions of dollars units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Total Energy Non-Energy
billions of dollars
2007  
January 4,647.9 3,661.8 986.1
February 4,037.6 4,812.4 -774.8
March 4,441.1 4,193.0 248.1
April 5,570.9 4,438.5 1,132.4
May 5,337.1 4,136.4 1,200.7
June 3,770.9 3,548.1 222.8
July 2,559.8 3,207.4 -647.6
August 3,788.6 3,916.3 -127.7
September 2,612.9 3,965.4 -1,352.5
October 3,092.5 4,618.3 -1,525.8
November 3,773.7 4,567.6 -793.9
December 1,961.5 4,089.5 -2,128.0
2008  
January 2,484.8 4,284.3 -1,799.5
February 3,784.1 5,327.5 -1,543.4
March 5,727.2 6,351.2 -624.0
April 4,976.0 6,000.4 -1,024.4
May 5,623.7 6,998.3 -1,374.6
June 5,060.8 6,496.8 -1,436.0
July 5,592.2 6,548.1 -955.9
August 5,679.9 6,605.1 -925.2
September 3,447.8 5,803.9 -2,356.1
October 2,610.1 4,741.2 -2,131.1
November 386.6 4,169.8 -3,783.2
December -1,703.6 2,902.7 -4,606.3
2009  
January -1,767.1 3,093.6 -4,860.7
February -44.7 3,250.4 -3,295.1
March 1,079.3 3,801.7 -2,722.4
April -676.2 2,969.5 -3,645.7
May -1,543.6 2,700.0 -4,243.6
June 97.3 3,649.4 -3,552.1
July -782.4 3,160.4 -3,942.8
August -1,561.3 3,269.5 -4,830.8
September -821.4 3,775.6 -4,597.0
October 360.0 4,086.1 -3,726.1
November -334.5 4,354.9 -4,689.4
December -778.8 4,014.9 -4,793.7
2010  
January 394.0 4,346.7 -3,952.7
February 61.2 4,467.2 -4,406.0
March -1,255.8 3,732.8 -4,988.6
April 109.6 3,842.6 -3,733.0
May -860.2 3,779.8 -4,640.0
June -1,396.2 3,765.0 -5,161.2
July -2,071.0 3,452.0 -5,523.0
August -1,771.5 2,890.1 -4,661.6
September -2,333.8 3,439.4 -5,773.2
October -1,182.5 3,685.1 -4,867.6
November -512.8 3,775.6 -4,288.4
December 1,115.7 4,789.2 -3,673.5
2011  
January 744.1 4,842.6 -4,098.5
February -48.5 4,431.9 -4,480.4
March -999.5 3,881.3 -4,880.8
April -239.7 4,494.0 -4,733.7
May -1,086.0 4,053.7 -5,139.7
June -1,114.5 4,526.6 -5,641.1
July 148.8 4,678.2 -4,529.4
August 208.8 4,744.0 -4,535.2
September 1,097.8 5,199.1 -4,101.3
October -840.1 4,877.8 -5,717.9
November 575.3 5,305.7 -4,730.4
December 2,121.1 6,015.9 -3,894.8
2012  
January -34.7 5,887.1 -5,921.8
February -1.0 5,450.7 -5,451.7
March -1,162.1 5,013.9 -6,176.0
April -740.9 5,081.4 -5,822.3
May -1,386.6 4,092.9 -5,479.5
June -2,337.8 4,804.3 -7,142.1
July -3,042.0 3,771.5 -6,813.5
August -1,076.3 4,301.2 -5,377.5
September -1,051.1 4,810.8 -5,861.9
October -379.3 4,837.1 -5,216.4
November -1,673.3 4,729.1 -6,402.4
December -404.0 4,718.1 -5,122.1
2013  
January -432.2 4,922.4 -5,354.6
February -669.9 5,176.3 -5,846.2
March -471.1 5,425.9 -5,897.0
April -2.1 5,454.3 -5,456.4
May -716.0 5,374.8 -6,090.8
June -414.0 5,527.2 -5,941.2
July -1,257.2 6,278.5 -7,535.7
August -502.8 6,652.1 -7,154.9
September -109.7 6,654.8 -6,764.5
October -300.7 6,618.1 -6,918.8
November -979.9 6,129.7 -7,109.6
December -706.4 6,141.4 -6,847.8
2014  
January -363.1 7,059.1 -7,422.2
February 522.5 7,851.4 -7,328.9
March 1,015.2 8,033.8 -7,018.6
April 187.7 7,209.3 -7,021.6
May 594.5 7,587.4 -6,992.9
June 1,548.9 7,879.2 -6,330.3
July 2,230.5 7,726.4 -5,495.9
August 645.5 6,950.1 -6,304.6
September -9.1 6,731.9 -6,741.0
October -530.2 6,814.1 -7,344.3
November -84.8 6,490.3 -6,575.1
December -966.5 5,210.7 -6,177.2
2015  
January -1,803.0 4,875.2 -6,678.2
February -1,680.0 5,101.6 -6,781.6
March -3,174.4 4,397.6 -7,572.0
April -2,383.8 4,645.2 -7,029.0
May -2,762.4 4,714.5 -7,476.9
June -760.8 5,106.3 -5,867.1
July -478.7 4,492.9 -4,971.6
August -2,356.0 3,987.2 -6,343.2
September -2,026.1 4,061.8 -6,087.9
October -2,206.4 4,186.2 -6,392.6
November -1,932.5 3,610.4 -5,542.9
December -896.2 3,888.5 -4,784.7
2016  
January -731.3 3,651.2 -4,382.5
February -2,641.4 3,000.2 -5,641.6
March -3,110.4 3,052.3 -6,162.7
April -3,629.1 3,221.8 -6,850.9
May -3,666.2 2,952.2 -6,618.4
June -3,854.1 3,005.3 -6,859.4
July -2,161.3 3,014.0 -5,175.3
August -1,991.5 3,902.5 -5,894.0
September -4,080.4 4,075.0 -8,155.4

Smaller surpluses for energy were primarily responsible for larger trade deficits in the first half of the year. Energy exports, on lower prices and volumes, were 20.3% lower in first half of 2016 than in the second half of 2015. The volume of energy exports, measured in chained 2007 dollars, declined from February to June.

Non-energy exports also slowed during the first half of 2016, declining from February to June (Chart 12). Total non-energy exports were 1.9% lower in the first half of 2016 than in the last half of 2015. Exports of metal ores and non-metallic mineral products fell 16.6%, on declines in potash. Exports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts fell 9.2%. Lower exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products (-2.6%), industrial machinery, equipment and parts (-3.6%) and consumer goods (-1.4%) also contributed to the decline. Lower non-energy exports during the first half of the year coincided with declines in private fixed investment spending in the United States.Note 9

Chart 12 Merchandise exports by commodity groups

Data table for Chart 12
Data table for Chart 12
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 12. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Total, Energy and Non-Energy, calculated using index (January 2007=100) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Total Energy Non-Energy
index (January 2007=100)
2007  
January 100.0 100.0 100.0
February 98.3 109.9 96.0
March 102.1 110.4 100.4
April 102.6 111.0 100.9
May 100.6 110.0 98.7
June 97.3 104.4 95.9
July 95.9 98.3 95.4
August 96.1 106.0 94.2
September 93.7 109.3 90.6
October 92.5 111.1 88.9
November 95.1 115.9 90.9
December 91.0 117.4 85.8
2008  
January 95.0 128.2 88.4
February 98.5 138.8 90.5
March 101.4 150.2 91.7
April 103.2 159.9 92.0
May 108.7 170.9 96.4
June 110.3 184.0 95.7
July 112.5 185.3 98.1
August 108.4 168.2 96.6
September 105.5 158.8 94.9
October 105.2 147.6 96.8
November 96.7 120.3 92.0
December 85.3 93.5 83.7
2009  
January 77.2 88.9 74.8
February 81.7 89.9 80.1
March 81.0 91.3 78.9
April 76.6 83.6 75.2
May 70.3 79.0 68.5
June 74.1 94.4 70.0
July 77.6 95.2 74.1
August 74.0 94.7 69.9
September 75.9 96.2 71.9
October 78.4 103.5 73.4
November 79.6 108.5 73.9
December 81.1 113.0 74.8
2010  
January 81.7 113.1 75.5
February 83.6 112.3 77.9
March 82.6 108.2 77.6
April 83.1 105.0 78.7
May 85.2 107.4 80.8
June 84.3 100.2 81.2
July 83.5 101.6 79.9
August 85.7 100.8 82.7
September 84.0 99.1 81.1
October 86.4 100.5 83.6
November 87.7 106.6 84.0
December 92.3 124.2 86.0
2011  
January 94.8 129.6 87.9
February 90.1 119.3 84.3
March 91.8 125.1 85.2
April 93.0 130.5 85.5
May 92.6 128.7 85.4
June 91.7 126.4 84.8
July 95.1 126.1 89.0
August 97.8 127.6 91.9
September 100.7 138.8 93.2
October 98.7 138.1 90.9
November 101.4 147.7 92.2
December 105.6 149.3 96.9
2012  
January 100.2 149.0 90.5
February 100.0 146.3 90.9
March 96.8 134.7 89.3
April 97.4 131.9 90.6
May 97.3 126.1 91.6
June 96.4 125.4 90.7
July 94.7 118.8 90.0
August 95.9 125.7 90.1
September 95.6 127.7 89.3
October 96.7 133.5 89.4
November 97.2 136.3 89.4
December 97.2 132.3 90.2
2013  
January 98.3 136.2 90.8
February 99.7 137.1 92.3
March 100.5 140.0 92.7
April 102.0 139.1 94.7
May 99.8 139.5 92.0
June 100.1 140.5 92.2
July 98.4 145.9 89.0
August 103.3 160.5 92.0
September 103.8 160.1 92.7
October 102.0 154.7 91.5
November 102.0 146.1 93.3
December 102.9 151.6 93.3
2014  
January 103.4 164.0 91.4
February 108.8 179.7 94.8
March 110.5 183.2 96.1
April 109.5 162.3 99.0
May 114.2 175.6 102.0
June 113.4 174.0 101.5
July 115.4 176.0 103.4
August 113.6 163.5 103.7
September 112.7 158.5 103.6
October 112.5 152.5 104.6
November 111.0 152.1 102.8
December 110.7 128.0 107.3
2015  
January 108.3 114.6 107.1
February 107.9 117.9 105.9
March 108.8 107.6 109.1
April 108.0 113.5 107.0
May 107.6 116.0 105.9
June 113.2 120.3 111.8
July 116.0 112.9 116.6
August 112.5 103.4 114.3
September 111.3 98.3 113.9
October 109.5 97.8 111.8
November 109.7 90.3 113.5
December 113.8 89.5 118.6
2016  
January 116.1 86.9 121.8
February 108.3 68.8 116.1
March 104.6 74.0 110.6
April 104.8 77.4 110.2
May 104.1 81.2 108.7
June 104.4 83.8 108.5
July 109.2 88.0 113.4
August 109.9 94.5 112.9
September 110.0 96.2 112.7

Declines in non-energy exports followed notable gains in late 2015, supported by motor vehicles. Despite declines from February to June, total automotive exports were 3.3% higher in the first half of 2016 than in the second half of 2015.

Canada’s trade balance improved in July, as non-energy exports strengthened. Energy exports increased in both July and August, supported by higher volumes. The trade deficit narrowed to $2.0 billion in August, as exports to the United Kingdom and China increased. In September, the trade deficit widened to a record $4.1 billion, reflecting a high-value import of industrial machinery, equipment and parts from South Korea for the Hebron offshore oil project. Exports of energy products increased in September, while non-energy exports edged down.

Lower petroleum sales in the first half partly offset by auto shipments

Total manufacturing sales were 1.2% lower in the first half of 2016 than in the second half of 2015. Sales of petroleum and coal products continued to decline, falling to about half of early 2014 levels in the first quarter. Declines in aerospace products and machinery also contributed to lower sales. These declines coincided with lower exports and weaker private fixed investment in the United States.

Sales of motor vehicle manufacturers during the first half of the year continued to offset price-related declines in petroleum manufacturing (Chart 13). Motor vehicle sales were 7.8% higher in the first half of the year, following a 16.4% increase in the last half of 2015. While auto shipments remained high compared to 2015, sales trended downward following the recent peak in January. Sales fell markedly in May due to supply disruptions related to an earthquake in Japan.

Chart 13 Manufacturing sales, selected industries

Data table for Chart 13
Data table for Chart 13
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 13. The information is grouped by Industries (appearing as row headers), Petroleum and coal products, Machinery, Aerospace and Motor vehicles, calculated using billions fo dollars units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Industries Petroleum and coal products Machinery Aerospace Motor vehicles
billions fo dollars
July to December 2015 28.0 16.9 11.2 32.9
January to June 2016 23.8 15.9 10.0 35.5

On a provincial basis, lower sales in Alberta and Quebec during the first half of 2016 were offset by higher manufacturing sales in Ontario and British Columbia (Chart 14). Manufacturing shipments in Alberta were 8.2% lower in the first half than in the second half of 2015, reflecting declines in petroleum and coal products. While sales in the province have trended downward since late 2014, they edged up during the winter months as petroleum and chemicals posted gains. In Ontario, manufacturing sales trended lower in the first half after auto shipments supported the peak in sales at the start of the year. Manufacturing sales in Quebec have declined from late 2015 levels, reflecting lower production of aerospace products and parts.

Chart 14 Manufacturing sales, selected provinces

Data table for Chart 14
Data table for Chart 14
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 14. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Canada, Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia, calculated using index (January 2013=100) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Canada Ontario Quebec Alberta British Columbia
index (January 2013=100)
2013  
January 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00
February 102.00 101.82 103.74 101.99 99.78
March 101.51 101.62 102.18 100.41 101.28
April 100.32 100.44 98.32 101.91 100.51
May 100.36 101.89 94.84 103.39 101.68
June 99.99 101.32 97.88 100.21 97.86
July 100.16 100.32 99.80 103.98 99.52
August 101.76 100.88 103.23 107.65 100.34
September 101.59 102.06 99.88 104.15 101.86
October 102.65 102.11 103.30 103.65 103.56
November 103.27 103.93 102.10 106.03 107.15
December 102.36 103.49 102.15 103.16 103.27
2014  
January 102.89 101.63 105.24 107.55 106.75
February 105.14 105.72 105.69 109.65 102.63
March 104.92 106.41 105.12 110.50 101.55
April 105.90 106.72 106.65 111.45 106.53
May 107.17 109.54 104.86 110.97 109.79
June 107.52 108.51 105.91 114.18 109.17
July 109.64 110.81 109.31 114.27 109.27
August 106.91 106.69 107.05 112.02 110.28
September 108.86 110.29 111.60 112.81 111.09
October 107.73 109.41 109.38 113.18 111.15
November 105.46 107.40 105.88 106.81 109.55
December 108.36 112.10 107.68 105.94 114.07
2015  
January 104.10 107.24 106.75 97.95 110.81
February 101.96 103.97 102.10 98.63 113.45
March 105.04 107.98 107.12 97.96 109.92
April 103.63 107.12 104.84 96.88 110.02
May 104.16 107.20 106.11 97.85 109.56
June 105.93 108.08 109.53 100.00 110.52
July 107.62 113.16 108.09 97.62 111.15
August 106.77 113.43 107.27 95.34 109.76
September 105.42 110.91 106.81 94.17 109.70
October 104.36 111.70 104.40 91.13 109.78
November 105.38 113.34 106.48 90.79 110.51
December 106.85 114.99 108.38 87.54 111.16
2016  
January 108.57 119.69 107.82 83.33 111.75
February 104.04 115.00 102.56 82.50 110.72
March 103.20 112.49 100.55 84.15 113.65
April 104.43 112.96 102.17 87.18 112.08
May 103.97 111.70 103.41 86.11 113.89
June 104.73 113.26 103.31 87.92 113.46
July 104.75 113.17 104.49 86.18 116.21
August 105.74 114.09 102.71 88.08 118.68

More recently, manufacturing sales edged up 0.9% in August, following little change in July. Sales of food products, primary metals, and petroleum and coal products increased during the summer months.

Retail spending moderated into mid-year

Total retail sales were 1.7% higher in the first half of 2016, reflecting broad-based gains across store types. Higher sales among motor vehicle and parts dealers, general merchandise stores and health and personal care stores contributed to the increase. Lower sales at gasoline stations in the first half, down 7.3% on lower gas prices in the first quarter, weighed on retail spending. Excluding gasoline stations, retail sales in the first half were 2.7% higher than total spending in the last half of 2015. Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia posted the largest gains, while sales in Alberta declined.

After notable gains to start the year, retail sales moderated during the winter and spring.  Lower sales of autos and gasoline contributed to slower retail spending in recent months. Retail sales edged lower in July and August as sales at gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers declined. 

Home prices accelerated in Toronto and Vancouver

Home prices rose markedly during the first half of 2016 (Chart 15). According to estimates from the Aggregate Composite MLS Home Price Index, home prices were up 13.6% year-over-year in June, led by gains in Vancouver and Toronto.Note 10 In Greater Vancouver, prices were 32.1% higher in June 2016 than in June 2015. In the Greater Toronto area, home prices were up 16.0% year-over-year in June and continued to increase through the summer months, reaching 18.0% in September. By contrast, home prices in Calgary declined year-over-year in the first half of 2016, down 4.1% in June and remained stable in more recent months.

Chart 15 Multiple listing service home price index, selected cities

Data table for Chart 15
Data table for Chart 15
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 15. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Aggregate, Greater Vancouver, Greater Toronto and Calgary, calculated using index (January 2005=100) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Aggregate Greater Vancouver Greater Toronto Calgary
index (January 2005=100)
2005  
January 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
February 100.9 100.6 100.8 100.9
March 101.9 101.1 101.8 102.2
April 102.8 101.6 102.7 103.5
May 103.9 103.1 103.4 105.0
June 104.9 104.7 104.0 106.1
July 105.5 106.1 104.0 106.9
August 106.1 107.5 104.1 108.1
September 107.1 109.3 104.6 109.3
October 107.7 110.0 104.9 110.9
November 108.2 110.8 105.1 112.2
December 108.6 111.7 105.2 113.9
2006  
January 110.1 113.8 105.7 117.0
February 112.0 116.2 106.7 122.8
March 114.2 118.3 107.8 130.7
April 116.3 120.8 108.7 139.0
May 118.5 123.2 109.3 149.1
June 120.5 125.2 109.3 158.7
July 121.7 126.2 109.3 165.3
August 122.6 127.4 109.0 170.2
September 123.4 128.3 109.2 172.9
October 123.7 128.3 109.2 174.1
November 123.8 128.3 109.1 174.1
December 123.5 128.0 108.7 172.6
2007  
January 124.7 129.8 109.2 174.0
February 126.4 131.2 110.7 177.1
March 128.4 132.5 111.9 181.9
April 130.4 134.5 113.1 186.5
May 132.3 136.4 114.2 190.8
June 134.0 138.2 115.2 193.2
July 135.1 139.4 115.7 194.6
August 135.8 140.8 116.1 194.8
September 136.3 141.9 116.6 194.4
October 136.7 142.6 117.4 192.9
November 136.7 143.3 117.7 190.6
December 136.7 143.9 117.8 188.0
2008  
January 137.4 145.1 118.3 186.4
February 138.8 146.7 119.3 186.6
March 140.2 148.0 120.1 187.4
April 140.8 148.5 120.4 187.4
May 140.9 148.8 120.5 185.7
June 140.7 149.2 120.2 184.0
July 139.7 146.6 119.6 181.7
August 138.8 144.8 119.2 180.2
September 137.7 142.9 118.4 178.2
October 136.1 139.0 117.7 176.2
November 134.2 135.1 116.4 173.7
December 132.0 131.3 114.9 170.4
2009  
January 130.5 130.4 112.7 166.5
February 129.7 129.3 112.2 164.1
March 129.6 128.4 112.9 162.8
April 130.4 130.2 114.3 162.0
May 131.6 132.1 116.1 162.5
June 132.9 134.1 117.9 163.7
July 134.4 136.3 119.8 165.1
August 135.8 138.5 121.6 166.6
September 137.3 141.0 123.4 167.8
October 138.6 142.2 125.1 169.0
November 139.7 144.0 126.7 170.1
December 140.6 145.5 127.6 171.3
2010  
January 141.9 147.1 128.9 172.2
February 143.8 148.8 130.8 174.7
March 145.4 150.6 132.3 177.4
April 146.3 151.6 133.0 178.7
May 146.6 151.4 132.9 180.3
June 146.4 150.6 132.1 181.2
July 145.4 149.2 130.9 179.7
August 144.6 148.5 130.3 177.0
September 144.4 148.0 130.7 175.2
October 144.2 147.6 130.8 173.6
November 144.3 148.0 131.4 172.1
December 144.4 148.0 132.4 171.5
2011  
January 145.2 149.3 133.4 170.7
February 146.7 150.7 135.7 171.2
March 148.4 153.4 137.4 172.1
April 149.9 156.8 138.8 173.1
May 150.8 158.4 140.0 173.8
June 151.2 159.6 140.2 174.9
July 151.6 160.2 140.9 174.6
August 151.7 160.3 141.5 174.1
September 151.7 159.9 142.0 173.0
October 151.8 159.2 142.6 172.5
November 151.6 158.8 142.7 171.7
December 151.1 158.1 143.1 170.2
2012  
January 151.4 158.2 143.2 169.8
February 152.8 159.6 145.2 171.2
March 154.8 161.3 147.6 172.7
April 156.3 162.4 149.7 174.0
May 157.3 163.4 151.1 175.7
June 157.6 162.1 151.4 177.0
July 157.1 160.9 150.9 177.6
August 156.8 159.2 150.4 177.8
September 156.5 158.3 150.0 177.7
October 156.1 157.6 149.8 177.3
November 155.7 156.4 149.4 177.1
December 155.2 154.8 149.0 176.9
2013  
January 155.0 154.2 148.7 177.7
February 156.0 154.8 149.8 179.5
March 157.5 155.5 151.9 181.1
April 159.0 156.7 153.9 183.6
May 160.3 156.9 155.3 185.4
June 160.8 157.8 155.8 186.6
July 160.9 157.8 156.0 187.5
August 160.9 157.7 156.0 188.4
September 161.0 157.8 156.1 189.1
October 161.5 157.6 156.6 191.1
November 161.8 158.1 157.9 192.1
December 161.8 158.2 158.4 192.7
2014  
January 162.3 159.1 159.2 193.9
February 163.8 159.8 160.7 196.2
March 165.6 161.3 163.1 199.1
April 167.0 162.3 164.8 202.0
May 168.2 163.7 166.3 205.0
June 169.3 164.7 167.9 207.1
July 169.5 164.8 168.3 208.0
August 169.5 165.6 168.3 208.5
September 169.6 166.2 168.3 209.1
October 170.3 167.0 169.6 209.5
November 170.2 167.1 170.1 209.3
December 170.4 167.4 170.9 209.2
2015  
January 170.8 168.3 171.2 209.5
February 172.0 170.4 173.4 208.9
March 173.8 173.2 176.0 208.4
April 175.5 176.4 178.8 207.4
May 177.1 179.4 181.2 207.9
June 178.4 181.9 183.0 208.5
July 179.3 183.7 184.1 208.4
August 179.8 185.8 185.1 208.2
September 180.7 189.2 185.9 208.4
October 181.6 192.8 187.0 207.3
November 182.4 197.2 187.7 206.1
December 182.9 199.4 188.1 205.0
2016  
January 184.0 202.9 189.5 203.1
February 186.6 208.2 193.0 201.7
March 189.6 213.3 196.4 200.7
April 193.6 221.1 201.4 200.2
May 199.2 232.7 208.3 199.7
June 202.7 240.2 212.2 200.0
July 204.9 243.5 214.9 199.7
August 206.2 244.2 217.0 199.7
September 206.8 242.5 219.4 199.8

Monthly housing starts averaged 198,100 units (seasonally adjusted at annual rates) in the first half of 2016, down from 203,400 in the second half of 2015. Lower multi-family starts were responsible for the slower pace in the first half of 2016, as declines in Alberta and in Toronto were partly offset by gains in Vancouver. Total starts edged lower in July and August, as multi-family starts slowed further.

Investment in new housing construction, measured year-over-year, strengthened during the first half of 2016. Capital spending on single units rose from February to June 2016, following eight consecutive declines. Spending on double units has declined year-over-year since May 2015. Outlays on apartments moderated to 16.7% year-over-year in June. Monthly residential building permits averaged $4.2 billion in the first half of 2016, down from $4.5 billion in the second half of 2015.

Headline inflation slowed as food prices moderated

Consumer price inflation, measured year-over-year, averaged 1.5% during the first half of 2016 and 1.2% from July to September. Excluding food and energy, consumer inflation averaged 1.9% during this 9 month period.

Food prices contributed to lower inflation during the first half of the year and into the summer. The increase in the food index, measured year-over-year, slowed from 4.0% in January to 3.2% in April, before decelerating further to less than 2% from May to August. Price increases for fresh fruit and vegetables, up 15.7% year-over-year in January 2016, slowed to 4.8% in June, and continued to moderate in July and August. In September, food prices posted their smallest year-over-year increase (+0.1%) since February 2000.

During the first half of 2016, consumers continued to pay less for energy products, including gasoline, on a year-over-year basis. On average, energy prices declined 4.4% year-over-year during the first half of 2016, compared to an average decline of 7.6% in the second half of 2015.  More recently, energy prices were down 7.4% in the twelve months to July.

Prices for durable goods increased year-over-year during the first half of 2016 and into the third quarter, up 3.6% in the twelve months to August. Prices for passenger vehicles accelerated during this period, and were up 5.2% year-over-year in August.

Equities rose toward mid-year on broad-based gains

After losses in early 2016, Toronto stock prices (S&P/TSX composite index) rose into mid-year. Equities at June month end close were down 10% from their all-time high in August 2014 (Chart 16). Gains during the first half were broad-based, with energy, diversified metals and mining, gold, and materials posting notable gains. Financials edged up 2% during the first half of the year. As of June close, the Canadian energy index was down 42% from its level in August 2014.

Chart 16 S&P/TSX, selected indexes

Data table for Chart 16
Data table for Chart 16
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 16. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), S&P/TSX composite index, Canadian energy index and Canadian financial index, calculated using index (January 2007=100) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year S&P/TSX composite index Canadian energy index Canadian financial index
index (January 2007=100)
2007  
January 100.0 100.0 100.0
February 100.1 98.1 100.4
March 101.0 101.2 102.2
April 102.9 103.7 102.4
May 107.8 111.1 104.3
June 106.7 110.7 101.7
July 106.4 109.8 98.5
August 104.8 104.0 100.6
September 108.2 107.4 102.5
October 112.2 111.6 104.5
November 105.0 101.5 101.4
December 106.1 108.7 96.2
2008  
January 100.9 101.1 92.1
February 104.2 111.0 89.1
March 102.4 110.9 87.5
April 106.9 122.4 90.6
May 112.9 135.5 91.4
June 111.0 137.7 82.9
July 104.3 118.1 85.4
August 105.7 124.6 86.2
September 90.2 97.9 85.3
October 74.9 78.5 71.8
November 71.1 75.6 65.9
December 69.0 67.2 59.4
2009  
January 66.7 63.7 54.9
February 62.3 61.0 48.8
March 66.9 67.2 54.9
April 71.5 72.9 63.5
May 79.6 85.0 69.5
June 79.6 82.2 73.5
July 82.8 81.7 81.4
August 83.4 81.1 81.9
September 87.4 89.7 84.0
October 83.7 87.9 77.5
November 87.8 88.7 80.7
December 90.1 92.3 82.2
2010  
January 85.1 86.4 78.0
February 89.2 87.9 82.3
March 92.4 89.7 88.1
April 93.7 93.1 87.7
May 90.2 88.8 82.8
June 86.7 84.4 78.1
July 89.9 87.6 82.7
August 91.4 84.5 79.0
September 94.9 88.4 82.6
October 97.3 89.4 83.8
November 99.4 92.6 84.3
December 103.1 100.3 85.9
2011  
January 104.0 105.6 86.4
February 108.5 112.6 91.8
March 108.3 110.8 93.2
April 107.0 107.9 91.6
May 105.9 104.3 91.4
June 102.0 98.1 89.4
July 99.3 96.4 84.0
August 98.0 88.4 83.0
September 89.2 75.0 79.5
October 94.0 84.9 80.9
November 93.6 85.0 77.5
December 91.7 83.4 79.4
2012  
January 95.5 87.5 81.3
February 97.0 89.5 84.2
March 95.1 81.9 87.5
April 94.3 82.0 86.8
May 88.3 73.1 80.4
June 89.0 73.1 81.0
July 89.5 76.6 80.5
August 91.7 78.4 82.6
September 94.5 80.6 84.4
October 95.3 80.4 85.4
November 93.9 77.4 87.6
December 95.4 77.2 89.2
2013  
January 97.3 79.0 92.0
February 98.4 78.9 94.6
March 97.8 78.6 92.3
April 95.6 76.4 91.7
May 97.1 78.4 93.3
June 93.1 75.6 92.2
July 95.8 78.9 96.0
August 97.1 80.2 97.4
September 98.1 81.9 99.1
October 102.5 84.0 105.2
November 102.8 83.1 107.8
December 104.5 84.7 108.9
2014  
January 105.1 83.9 104.3
February 109.0 87.6 108.6
March 110.0 92.1 110.4
April 112.4 98.3 111.7
May 112.0 97.3 112.7
June 116.2 103.6 115.7
July 117.6 98.6 120.7
August 119.9 101.0 120.8
September 114.8 90.8 118.0
October 112.1 80.9 117.9
November 113.1 71.5 122.5
December 112.3 68.6 118.3
2015  
January 112.6 67.1 108.4
February 116.9 68.9 116.6
March 114.3 67.5 114.7
April 116.8 73.5 118.3
May 115.2 68.3 116.3
June 111.7 63.8 114.5
July 111.0 58.1 114.1
August 106.3 56.8 110.4
September 102.1 51.7 109.7
October 103.8 55.6 113.2
November 103.3 55.0 114.4
December 99.8 50.3 110.3
2016  
January 98.4 49.3 108.5
February 98.7 47.7 105.3
March 103.5 53.0 113.0
April 107.0 58.1 115.6
May 107.9 59.0 116.6
June 107.9 58.8 112.8
July 111.9 58.5 116.0
August 112.0 60.8 118.6
September 111.9 62.0 119.1

After advancing 3.7% in July, the S&P/TSX composite index was little changed in August and September. The consumer discretionary and financial indexes posted gains during the third quarter, while the energy index rose in August and September as crude prices strengthened.

The Canadian dollar strengthened against the U.S. dollar during the spring. The dollar rebounded to 78.0 cents U.S. in April from 70.3 cents in January (Chart 17). The exchange rate was less volatile during late spring and summer. The dollar edged down to 76.3 cents U.S. in September and then to 75.5 cents in October. Overall, the Canadian dollar has depreciated 19% relative to the U.S. dollar since July 2014. On a trade-weighted basis, the Canadian dollar was down 3% relative to other major currencies over this period.

Chart 17 Exchange rates

Data table for Chart 17
Data table for Chart 17
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 17. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Exchange rate and CERI excluding US$ (RHS), calculated using CAN$/US$ and index (1992=100)
units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Exchange rate CERI excluding US$ (RHS)
CAN$/US$ index (1992=100)
2007  
January 0.850 109.68
February 0.854 109.32
March 0.856 110.11
April 0.882 113.74
May 0.913 118.59
June 0.939 119.26
July 0.952 117.35
August 0.945 118.12
September 0.975 122.63
October 1.025 127.11
November 1.034 119.20
December 0.997 121.49
2008  
January 0.989 117.37
February 1.001 118.06
March 0.998 109.43
April 0.986 112.99
May 1.001 114.64
June 0.984 111.23
July 0.987 110.94
August 0.948 111.27
September 0.945 114.01
October 0.844 104.92
November 0.821 103.79
December 0.810 101.03
2009  
January 0.815 103.86
February 0.803 104.25
March 0.791 102.69
April 0.817 107.46
May 0.869 111.51
June 0.888 105.43
July 0.891 112.14
August 0.919 110.11
September 0.924 111.28
October 0.948 109.93
November 0.944 109.85
December 0.948 115.30
2010  
January 0.959 114.11
February 0.946 116.02
March 0.978 121.50
April 0.995 122.82
May 0.962 123.32
June 0.963 120.15
July 0.959 119.34
August 0.960 117.02
September 0.968 116.27
October 0.982 114.95
November 0.987 118.47
December 0.992 119.83
2011  
January 1.006 117.49
February 1.013 120.31
March 1.024 119.38
April 1.044 118.53
May 1.033 117.69
June 1.024 118.01
July 1.047 118.21
August 1.017 115.76
September 0.997 114.38
October 0.981 117.03
November 0.975 116.46
December 0.977 118.55
2012  
January 0.987 118.19
February 1.003 120.43
March 1.006 119.44
April 1.007 120.30
May 0.990 119.87
June 0.973 119.74
July 0.986 122.48
August 1.008 123.16
September 1.022 121.44
October 1.013 119.96
November 1.003 121.26
December 1.011 121.58
2013  
January 1.008 121.05
February 0.990 120.32
March 0.976 122.64
April 0.982 122.67
May 0.981 122.17
June 0.969 119.87
July 0.961 121.07
August 0.961 118.65
September 0.967 119.73
October 0.965 117.65
November 0.953 116.74
December 0.940 116.14
2014  
January 0.914 111.70
February 0.905 110.95
March 0.900 111.53
April 0.910 111.96
May 0.918 113.35
June 0.923 114.85
July 0.931 114.33
August 0.915 115.76
September 0.908 115.98
October 0.892 116.38
November 0.883 117.53
December 0.867 118.41
2015  
January 0.825 111.31
February 0.800 113.64
March 0.792 114.61
April 0.811 117.86
May 0.821 116.16
June 0.809 115.00
July 0.777 111.23
August 0.761 109.82
September 0.754 108.54
October 0.765 111.07
November 0.753 112.01
December 0.730 107.13
2016  
January 0.703 107.06
February 0.725 109.67
March 0.756 110.76
April 0.780 112.85
May 0.773 111.48
June 0.775 112.20
July 0.766 111.47
August 0.770 111.41
September 0.763 111.05
October 0.755 111.26

Commodity prices advanced into mid year

After declines early in the year, commodity prices advanced from March to June on higher energy prices (Chart 18). In September, the commodity price index was up 13% from its level at year end. Excluding energy, the index was up 1.6% over this period as higher prices for metals and minerals, fish and forestry were offset by lower agricultural prices. Overall, the commodity price index as of September 2016 was down 46% from the recent peak in June 2014.

Chart 18 Commodity price index

Data table for Chart 18
Data table for Chart 18
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 18. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Total, all commodities, Total excluding energy and Energy, calculated using index (January 2007=100) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Total, all commodities Total excluding energy Energy
index (January 2007=100)
2007  
January 100.0 100.0 100.0
February 108.6 102.8 113.1
March 107.8 104.3 110.5
April 113.1 108.0 117.1
May 113.6 109.3 116.9
June 114.2 107.6 119.5
July 112.9 105.6 118.7
August 109.8 101.4 116.6
September 112.9 101.6 122.2
October 119.2 102.7 133.3
November 125.0 103.1 144.5
December 122.9 101.3 142.0
2008  
January 127.6 105.0 148.3
February 136.4 117.6 154.2
March 145.4 119.3 169.2
April 153.7 118.7 185.6
May 165.2 119.3 207.6
June 175.6 119.6 228.4
July 171.7 119.8 220.4
August 150.2 116.4 180.9
September 138.3 110.4 163.7
October 110.2 95.7 124.2
November 94.9 90.3 101.1
December 79.3 84.4 79.1
2009  
January 81.4 87.7 80.2
February 77.6 87.2 74.3
March 83.1 86.9 83.5
April 82.3 87.9 81.5
May 90.8 90.4 94.3
June 97.9 92.0 105.8
July 92.2 90.3 96.8
August 95.9 90.8 103.1
September 92.9 89.0 99.2
October 101.1 90.8 112.8
November 103.2 94.7 113.4
December 108.4 96.3 121.7
2010  
January 114.3 98.2 131.5
February 111.8 98.7 126.1
March 113.2 102.3 125.6
April 115.6 106.1 126.9
May 108.3 103.0 116.0
June 109.3 99.1 121.0
July 109.6 100.9 120.0
August 109.3 104.8 116.4
September 107.3 107.3 111.1
October 113.6 109.8 120.2
November 117.3 112.3 125.0
December 123.8 117.3 132.8
2011  
January 126.4 122.0 134.0
February 126.9 125.6 132.2
March 138.3 126.9 151.9
April 146.1 129.6 164.3
May 138.7 126.5 152.9
June 135.3 126.7 146.5
July 137.0 129.4 147.4
August 129.5 127.6 135.2
September 128.2 124.2 135.5
October 125.6 119.4 134.5
November 131.0 119.9 144.2
December 130.6 119.3 143.9
2012  
January 128.5 121.7 137.9
February 128.4 126.1 134.1
March 130.4 127.1 137.0
April 130.4 126.3 137.5
May 125.8 123.8 131.1
June 113.8 122.0 111.2
July 119.9 122.8 121.3
August 126.1 122.3 132.9
September 128.9 123.6 136.9
October 124.5 123.6 129.0
November 118.8 123.1 119.1
December 119.1 125.0 118.4
2013  
January 121.1 122.4 123.6
February 124.8 123.1 129.7
March 125.5 121.2 132.3
April 126.1 119.0 135.1
May 125.0 117.0 134.7
June 125.6 114.7 137.6
July 129.3 112.9 146.3
August 128.9 113.4 145.0
September 127.0 111.3 143.3
October 121.4 110.3 133.5
November 115.3 109.4 123.0
December 121.6 107.4 136.4
2014  
January 123.1 109.0 138.0
February 128.9 109.4 148.3
March 128.8 113.9 144.4
April 130.3 114.0 147.0
May 130.3 114.5 146.7
June 132.2 114.4 150.2
July 129.1 116.9 142.8
August 124.6 114.9 136.2
September 122.5 111.9 134.8
October 115.1 110.7 122.8
November 108.4 110.8 111.5
December 92.0 110.0 86.2
2015  
January 80.6 107.1 69.7
February 82.4 105.0 74.2
March 79.5 103.8 69.9
April 84.1 102.9 78.9
May 89.6 104.2 88.3
June 89.5 104.3 88.1
July 81.2 102.0 74.3
August 71.5 96.7 60.8
September 73.4 93.7 66.0
October 73.1 94.1 65.2
November 69.2 91.4 60.2
December 63.6 88.8 52.4
2016  
January 58.6 88.4 44.5
February 57.8 90.5 42.1
March 65.3 93.2 52.4
April 68.3 93.8 57.2
May 73.5 94.6 65.9
June 76.0 94.5 70.6
July 72.5 93.3 65.0
August 71.9 92.7 64.3
September 71.7 90.2 65.8
October 75.2 89.7 72.9

Household leverage increased in the second quarter

Household credit market debt rose 2.0% in the second quarter to $1.97 trillion,Note 11 the largest quarterly increase, in percentage terms, since the second quarter of 2011. Household credit market debt to disposable income increased to a record 167.63% in the quarter, while the debt service ratio, which includes household payments on both interest and principal owing, edged up to 14.15% from 14.06% in the first quarter.

Household assets rose to $11.84 trillion in the second quarter, up from $11.61 trillion in the first. Household net worth —assets minus liabilities — rose 1.9% to $9.84 trillion in the second quarter supported by higher prices for real estate.

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