Economic activity up in February 2014

Québec, May 23, 2014 – Québec’s real gross domestic product (GDP) at basic prices rose 0.4% in February, following an increase of 0.4% in January and a decline of 0.1% in December 2013. In Canada, GDP grew 0.2% in February. The improvement in Québec was mainly in the goods-producing industries, which recorded growth of 1.2%. Service-producing industries expanded their level of activity by 0.1%. Moreover, GDP in the first two months of 2014 advanced 1.4% compared with the same months in 2013. In Canada, the rate was equal to 2.5%.

The rise in GDP for February was essentially due to the gain recorded in utilities. In addition, 15 of the 20 major industry sectors recorded growth in February.

The production of goods advanced

In February 2014, goods-producing industries recorded an increase of 1.2%, essentially owing to gains in utilities (+6.0%). Mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction (+3.3%), as well as construction (+0.9%) also increased. However, the production level of agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (–1.4%) dropped. Manufacturing remained stable in February.

Increase in the production of services

As regards services, production increased 0.1% in February 2014, following an increase of 0.3% in January and a decrease of 0.3% in December. Increases were recorded in the wholesale trade (+0.4%), the retail trade (+0.5%), real estate services, and rental and leasing services (+0.4%), as well as in public administration (+0.2%). But the production levels in educational services (–0.7%) and in the arts, entertainment and recreation (–5.6%) dropped.

Stagnation in manufacturing

Manufacturing production remained stable in February, following two consecutive increases (+2.6% in January and +1.3% in December). The rise in the production level in the manufacturing of durable goods (+0.8%) was completely cancelled out by the reduction in the production level in the manufacturing of non-durable goods (–1.2%).

Concerning the manufacturing of non-durable goods, the slackening stemmed especially from the manufacturing of food, plastics and rubber products, as well as the manufacturing of clothing, leather and allied products.

As for the manufacturing of durable goods, growth was due mainly to wood products, transportation equipment and non-metallic mineral products .

In addition, 8 manufacturing sectors in 19 increased their production levels in February.

Revival in the construction industry

Construction industry production rose 0.9% in February, following three consecutive declines (–0.7% in February 2014, –0.7% in December and –1.9% in November). The upswing in February is essentially explained by growth in the production of residential construction, which recorded a gain of 1.7%; the increase was due to strengthening in the construction of new homes (double houses, apartments and row houses). A hike in residential renovations was also noted.

Growth in the wholesale trade and the retail trade

Production in the wholesale trade rose 0.4% in February, following an increase of 1.0% in January and a decline of 2.0% in December. The increase in February is explained essentially by the gains observed in the production of food, beverage and tobacco wholesalers-distributors (+2.8%) and the production of building material and supplies wholesalers-distributors (+1.6%).

Production in the retail trade rose 0.5% in February, following two consecutive declines (–0.5% in January and –1.5% in December). More specifically, health and personal care stores (+2.6%), sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (+11.7%), as well as building material and garden equipment and supply stores (+4.2%) boosted their levels of production.

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