Economic activity up in January 2014

Québec, April 23, 2014 – Québec’s real gross domestic product (GDP) at basic prices went up 0.4% in January, on the heels of two consecutive declines (– 0.2% in December and – 0.1% in November). In Canada, GDP rose by 0.5% in January. In Québec, the increase was essentially due to the goods-producing industries, which posted 1.3% growth. As for service-producing industries, they increased their activity level by 0.1%.

GDP growth in January was mainly due to gains recorded in the manufacturing sector. In addition, 11 of the 20 major sectors of the economy posted gains in January.

Production of goods advanced

In January 2014, goods-producing industries recorded a 1.3% increase, essentially due to growth in manufacturing (+ 3.3%), mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (+ 3.3%) as well as agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (+ 1.7%). However, output levels decreased in construction (– 1.6%) and utilities (– 1.3%).

Rise in service production

Service production grew by 0.1% in January 2014, following a 0.3% drop in December and a 0.3% increase in November. Strong gains were recorded by wholesale trade (+ 0.7%), real estate and rental and leasing (+ 0.3%), health care and social assistance (+ 0.6%), and accommodation and food services (+ 1.7%). However, retail trade (– 0.3 %), transportation and warehousing         (– 1.5%), professional, scientific and technical services (– 0.4%), and arts, entertainment and recreation (– 3.3%) were down.

Upturn in the manufacturing sector

Production in the manufacturing sector rose 3.3% in January 2014, after edging up 0.5% in December and dropping 2.2% in November. Durable goods manufacturing increased by 3.5%, and non-durable goods manufacturing grew by 3.0% in January.

With the exception of non-metallic mineral product manufacturing, all durable goods manufacturing industries recorded increases in January 2014. Strong gains were observed in primary metal manufacturing, metal product manufacturing, machinery manufacturing, and electrical equipment, appliance and component manufacturing.

As for industries that manufacture non-durable goods, all sectors posted increases in January 2014. Substantial gains were observed in food manufacturing and beverage and tobacco product manufacturing.

Downturn in the construction industry

For the third month in a row, production in the construction industry decreased (– 1.6% in January 2014, – 0.3% in December and – 1.8% in November). The drop in January was primarily due to losses recorded in construction of non-residential buildings. Production in residential construction posted a 0.2% increase, due to a rise in residential renovation.

Wholesale trade rises and retail trade drops

Production in wholesale trade grew 0.7% in January, in the wake of two consecutive decreases (– 2.0% in December and – 1.2% in November). Growth in January was mainly due to gains in production registered by personal and household goods wholesaler-distributors (+ 4.0%), and building material and supplies wholesaler-distributors (+ 6.7%).

Production in the retail trade industry dropped 0.3% in January 2014, following a 1.6% decline in December and a 1.4% rise in November. Health and personal care stores (– 3.6%), sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (– 8.5%), and food and beverage stores (– 1.6%) were down. However, the output of motor vehicle and parts dealers increased 5.7% in January.

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