Economic activity down in November 2014

Québec, February 20, 2015 – Québec’s real gross domestic product (GDP) at basic prices declined for the second straight month. There was a decrease of 0.3% in November and 0.2% in October. In Canada, GDP was down 0.2% in November. Goods-producing industries were behind Québec’s decline. They recorded a 1.0% drop, while output in service industries remained stable. GDP for the first 11 months of 2014 was up 1.4% compared with the same period in 2013. In Canada, the corresponding rate was 2.3%.

The declines observed in construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade and public administration largely contributed to the decrease in November. In addition, 11 of the 20 major sectors of the economy experienced a drop in November.

Decline in the production of goods

In November 2014, goods-producing industries recorded a 1.0% decline, following a drop of 1.0% in October and an increase of 1.3% in September. The decline in November was essentially due to a decrease in the manufacturing sector (– 2.5%). There were also decreases in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (– 0.1%) and construction (– 0.7%) sectors. However, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (+ 1.4%) as well as utilities (+ 2.9%) recorded gains.

Output in service-producing industries unchanged

Output in service industries remained unchanged in November, following two consecutive increases (+ 0.1% in October and
+ 0.5% in September). The gains recorded in retail trade (+ 0.9%), real estate and rental and leasing (+ 0.3%) and educational services (+ 0.7%) were completely cancelled out by the losses observed in wholesale trade (– 1.1%), information and cultural industries (– 0.8%), public administration (– 0.5%) as well as accommodation and food services (– 1.0%).

In the first 11 months of 2014, service industries increased their output level by 1.4%, and goods-producing industries were up 1.3% compared with the same months in 2013. In Canada, the rates were + 2.3% for service-producing industries and + 2.2% for goods-producing industries.

Downturn in the manufacturing sector

Output in the manufacturing sector was down 2.5% in November, following a drop of 0.5% in October and an increase of 1.6% in September. This decline was attributable to both durable goods manufacturing (– 2.1%) and non-durable goods manufacturing
(– 3.1%).

Regarding industries that manufacture durable goods, the decrease was mostly due to primary metal manufacturing and electrical equipment, appliance and component manufacturing. As for non-durable goods industries, the decline was essentially attributable to the manufacturing of food, petroleum and coal products, chemicals, and plastics and rubber products. Output levels decreased in 14 out of 19 manufacturing sectors in November.

Construction industry down

Production in the construction industry was down 0.7% in November, in the wake of a 0.9% decline in October and a 0.5% increase in September. The drop recorded in November was primarily due to a decline in residential construction. The slowdown in new housing construction (singles, doubles and row houses) largely contributed to the decrease in the residential sector. There was also a decline in residential renovation.

Wholesale trade drops and retail trade rises

Output in wholesale trade decreased by 1.1% in November, following two consecutive increases (+ 0.2% in October and + 1.6% in September). The losses recorded by machinery, equipment and supplies wholesaler-distributors (– 4.0%), and miscellaneous wholesaler-distributors (– 4.3%) were behind the decline noted in November.

Output in retail trade rose by 0.9% in November, following a 0.9% drop in October and a 0.8% increase in September. The increase recorded in November was mostly due to gains registered by clothing and clothing accessories stores (+ 4.2%) and general merchandise stores (+ 3.7%).

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