Economic activity up in May 2014

Québec, August 28, 2014 – Québec’s real gross domestic product (GDP) at basic prices went up 0.1% in May, on the heels of a 0.2% drop in April. In Canada, GDP rose 0.4% in May. The service-producing industries were behind Québec’s growth, recording a 0.4% increase. However, goods-producing industries decreased their activity level by 0.7%. Moreover, for the first five months of 2014, GDP was up 1.2% compared with the same months of 2013. In Canada, the corresponding rate was 2.2%.

In May, GDP growth was mainly due to gains recorded in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction, as well as wholesale trade, and real estate and rental and leasing. In contrast, utilities and manufacturing recorded notable decreases.

Production of goods edges down

In May 2014, goods-producing industries posted a 0.7% decline, following a 0.9% drop in April. Output was down in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (-3.1%), utilities (-2.3%), construction (-0.7%) and manufacturing (-0.5%). Output was however up in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (+6.2%).

Rise in service production

Services output grew 0.4% in May 2014, following four consecutive increases (including +0.1% in April). Strong gains were recorded by wholesale trade (+1.4%), retail trade (+0.6%), real estate and rental and leasing (+0.4%), administrative and support, waste management and remediation services (+1.4%), health care and social assistance (+0.5%), and public administration (+0.4%).

Manufacturing sector down  

Output in the manufacturing sector was down 0.5% in May after contracting 1.1% in April and increasing 0.3% in March. The drop in May stemmed from non-durable goods manufacturing (-0.8%) and durable goods manufacturing (-0.3%).

For the non-durable goods sector, the drop was mainly due to paper manufacturing and food manufacturing. As for the durable goods sector, the drop was essentially due to wood product manufacturing. Primary metal manufacturing, however, experienced solid growth in May.

Output levels decreased in 13 out of 19 manufacturing sectors in May. Moreover, in the first five months of 2014, production in the manufacturing industry grew 2.0% compared with the same period in 2013. In Canada, this rate was also 2.0%.

Decline in construction industry 

For the third month in a row, production in the construction industry decreased
(-0.7% in May, -0.6% in April and -0.2% in March). The drop in May was primarily due to a decline recorded in engineering construction and residential construction. A slowdown in new housing construction (singles and doubles) is the main reason behind the residential sector drop. However, there were gains in residential renovation.

Increase in both wholesale and retail trade 

Output in wholesale trade was up 1.4% in May, in the wake of a 0.2% drop in April and a 0.3% increase in March. Growth in May was mainly due to production gains recorded by personal and household goods wholesaler-distributors (+2.7%), and building material and supplies wholesaler-distributors (+1.9%).

Output in the retail trade industry rose by 0.6% in May, following a 1.5% increase in April and a 0.5% drop in March. This production increase in May was mainly due to increases in motor vehicle and parts dealers (+6.8%) and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (+9.6%). On the other hand, food and beverage stores posted decreases (-4.0%).

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