Economic activity down in April 2014

Québec, July 18, 2014 – Québec’s real gross domestic product (GDP) at basic prices edged down 0.1% in April 2014, on the heels of three consecutive increases (+0.2% in March, +0.3% in February and +0.5% in January). In Canada, GDP rose by 0.1% in April. Goods-producing industries were behind Québec’s decline, with a 0.7% drop. However, service-producing industries increased their activity level by 0.1%. For the first four months of 2014, GDP was up 1.3% compared with the same months of 2013. In Canada, the corresponding rate was 2.2%.

The GDP drop in April was mainly due to losses recorded in utilities, construction, manufacturing and wholesale trade. Significant gains were however recorded in retail trade and public administration. Furthermore, 12 of the 20 major sectors of the economy experienced a drop in April.

Production of goods edges down

In April 2014, goods-producing industries recorded a 0.7% decrease, due to output losses in utilities (-1.8%), construction          (-0.7%), and manufacturing (-0.4%). Output was also down in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (-0.3%) and in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (-0.2%).

Rise in service production

Services output grew 0.1% in April 2014, following three consecutive increases (including +0.1% in March and +0.1% in February). Noteworthy gains were recorded by retail trade (+1.1%), accommodation and food services (+1.3%), and public administration (+0.7%). Output levels decreased in wholesale trade (-0.9%) administrative, support, waste management and remediation services (-1.1%) and health care and social assistance (-0.3%).

Manufacturing sector down  

Output in the manufacturing sector was down 0.4% in April after four consecutive increases (including +0.4% in March and +1.1% in February). The increase in non-durable goods manufacturing (+0.3%) was not enough to offset the decrease in durable goods manufacturing (-0.9%).

Regarding industries that manufacture non-durable goods, growth was mainly attributable to the manufacturing of food and plastics and rubber products. As for industries that manufacture durable goods, the decline was essentially due to primary metal transformation. 

Output levels decreased in 10 out of 19 manufacturing sectors in April. Moreover, in the first four months of 2014, production in the manufacturing industry grew 2.2% compared with the same period of 2013, whereas Canada experienced an increase of 1.9%.

Decline in construction industry 

Output in the construction industry fell 0.7% in April, following a 0.4% drop in March and a 1.5% increase in February. The drop in April was primarily due to a decline recorded in residential construction (-1.4%) caused by a slowdown in new housing construction (singles and apartments). However, there were gains in residential renovation.

Wholesale trade drops and retail trade rises 

Output in wholesale trade was down 0.9% in April, in the wake of a 1.2% increase in March and a 0.1% drop in February. The decline recorded in April was mainly due to output losses in food, beverage and tobacco wholesaler-distributors (-2.6%) and miscellaneous wholesaler-distributors (-6.3%).

Output in the retail trade industry rose by 1.1% in April, following a 0.5% drop in March and a 0.5% increase in February. More specifically, motor vehicle and parts dealers (+3.9%) and clothing and clothing accessories stores (+5.8%) saw their output go up significantly in April.

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