Economic activity down in August 2014

Québec, November 27, 2014 – Québec’s real gross domestic product (GDP) at basic prices was down 0.2% in August, on the heels of a 0.1% decline in July. In Canada, GDP was down 0.1% in August. Goods-producing industries were behind Québec’s decline. They recorded a drop of 0.9%, while service-producing industries maintained the same output level as in July. GDP for the first eight months of 2014 was up 1.5% compared with the same months in 2013. In Canada, the corresponding rate was 2.3%.

The losses recorded in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction as well as in manufacturing and educational services largely accounted for the decline registered in August.

Decline in the production of goods

In August 2014, goods-producing industries recorded a 0.9% decline, following two consecutive increases (+ 0.2% in July and
+ 1.3% in June). This drop was essentially due to the losses recorded in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (– 6.7%) and in manufacturing (– 1.1%). There were also decreases in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (– 0.9%) and construction (– 0.3%) sectors. However, utilities were up 0.5%.

Decline in the production of goods

Service output remained unchanged in August. Gains were noted in wholesale trade (+ 0.7%), finance and insurance (+ 0.4%), health care and social assistance (+ 0.3%) as well as in accommodation and food services (+ 1.0%). However, equivalent losses were observed in professional, scientific and technical services (– 0.4%), educational services (– 0.8%), and public administration (– 0.3%).

Downturn in the manufacturing sector

Output in the manufacturing sector was down 1.1% in August, following three consecutive increases (+ 0.6% in July, + 1.2% in June and + 0.2% in May). This decline was attributable to both non-durable goods manufacturing (– 1.2%) and durable goods manufacturing (–1.1%).

Regarding the manufacturing of non-durable goods, the decline stemmed particularly from food manufacturing and beverage and tobacco product manufacturing. As for industries that manufacture durable goods, the drop was essentially due to the manufacturing of wood products, machinery, and transportation equipment.

Output levels decreased in 12 out of 19 manufacturing sectors in August.

Construction industry down

Output in the construction industry slid by 0.3% in August, following a decline of 0.3% in July and an increase of 1.5% in June. This drop was essentially due to a decrease in residential construction. The slowdown in new housing construction (singles, doubles and apartments) largely contributed to the decrease in the residential sector. There was also a decline in residential renovation.

In the first eight months of 2014, output in the construction industry decreased by 2.3% compared with the same period in 2013, while it remained stable in Canada.

Upswing in wholesale trade and downturn in retail trade

Output in wholesale trade increased by 0.7% in August, following two consecutive declines (– 1.3% in July and – 0.1% in June). The gains recorded by machinery, equipment and supplies wholesaler-distributors (+ 1.5%), motor vehicle and parts wholesaler-distributors (+ 4.9%), food, beverage and tobacco wholesaler-distributors (+ 1.1%), and miscellaneous wholesaler-distributors      (+ 2.1%) were behind the increase seen in August.

Retail trade output edged down for the third month in a row (– 0.2% in August, – 0.5% in July and – 0.1% in June). The lower output in August was mostly due to the losses recorded by food and beverage stores (– 1.6%) and health and personal care stores (– 1.6%).

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