Economic activity up in January 2015

Québec, April 23, 2015 – Québec’s real gross domestic product (GDP) at basic prices edged up 0.2% in January 2015, following a stagnation in December and a 0.2% decline in November. In Canada, GDP was down 0.1% in January. The goods-producing industries were behind Québec’s growth. They recorded a 1.2% increase, while output in services-producing industries was down 0.2%. Moreover, GDP was up 1.2% in January 2015 compared with the same month in 2014. In Canada, the corresponding rate was 2.4%.

The increases recorded in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting as well as in utilities, construction and manufacturing accounted for Québec’s economic growth in January. In addition, 11 of the 20 major sectors of the economy posted increases in January.

Increase in the production of goods

In January 2015, goods-producing industries recorded a 1.2% rise, following an increase of 0.2% in December and a drop of 0.8% in November. Output was up in all goods-producing sectors: agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (+3.4%), mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (+2.3%), utilities (+4.0%), construction (+0.8%) and manufacturing (+0.3%).

The production of services faltered

Service output fell 0.2% in January, following zero growth in December and a 0.1% increase in November. The gains recorded in wholesale trade (+0.5%), finance and insurance (+0.2%) and public administration (+0.4%) were completely cancelled out by the losses observed in retail trade (-1.5%), transportation and warehousing (-0.6%), professional, scientific and technical services (-0.5%), administrative and support, waste management and remediation services (-0.8%) and educational services (-0.3%).

Compared with the same month in 2014, services-producing industries grew 1.1% in January and goods-producing industries were up 1.4%. In Canada, the rates were +2.2% for services-producing industries and +3.0% for goods-producing industries.

Growth in the manufacturing sector

Output in the manufacturing sector rose 0.3% in January, after an increase of 2.1% in December and a drop of 2.6% in November. This rise was attributable to a 0.7% increase in durable goods manufacturing. Non-durable goods manufacturing declined by 0.3%.

Regarding industries that manufacture durable goods, growth was mostly due to metallic product manufacturing and electrical equipment, appliance and component manufacturing. As for non-durable goods industries, the decline was essentially due to paper manufacturing, chemical manufacturing and plastics and rubber products manufacturing.

Upturn in the construction industry

Output in the construction industry grew 0.8% in January, in the wake of two consecutive decreases (-1.2% in December and -0.4% in November). The gains in January were primarily due to an increase in engineering construction, as output was down in the residential construction sector. The slowdown in new housing construction (singles, doubles and row houses) largely contributed to the decrease in the residential sector. However, there were gains in residential renovation.

Wholesale trade rises and retail trade drops

Output in wholesale trade rose 0.5% in January, in the wake of three consecutive declines (-0.7% in December, -0.1% in November and -0.5% in October). The gains recorded by food, beverage and tobacco wholesaler-distributors (+5.4%) and machinery, equipment and supplies wholesaler-distributors (+3.8%) were behind the increase in January.

Output in retail trade contracted 1.5% in January, following a 0.9% decrease in December and a 1.1% increase in November. The decline in output in January was mainly due to losses registered by motor vehicle and parts dealers (-3.3%) and food and beverage stores (-2.9%).

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