Economic activity down in April 2015

Québec, July 17, 2015 – Québec’s real gross domestic product (GDP) at basic prices dropped 0.4% in April 2015, following a 0.1% decline in March. In Canada, GDP was down 0.1% in April. The goods-producing industries were behind Québec’s decline. They recorded a 1.4% drop, while output in services-producing industries increased by 0.1%. In addition, GDP for the first four months of 2015 was up 1.4% compared with the same months in 2014. In Canada, GDP grew by 1.7%.

The GDP drop in April was mainly due to the losses observed in utilities, construction, manufacturing, retail trade, as well as in the finance and insurance sector. However, wholesale trade and professional, scientific and technical services saw their output levels rise considerably.

Decline in the production of goods

In April 2015, goods-producing industries recorded a 1.4% decline following two consecutive decreases (-0.7% in March and -0.1% in February). Output was down in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (-0.5%), utilities (-3.3%), construction (-3.3%) and manufacturing (-0.2%). However, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (+0.1%) recorded gains.

Rise in service production

Service output rose 0.1% in April following increases of 0.2% in March and 0.1% in February. Gains were recorded in wholesale trade (+0.9%), real estate and rental and leasing (+0.4%), professional, scientific and technical services (+1.1%) and public administration (+0.3%). On the other hand, output declined in retail trade (-0.7%), transportation and warehousing (-0.7%) and finance and insurance (-0.8%).

In the first four months of 2015, services-producing industries grew by 1.6%, while goods-producing industries were up 0.8% compared with the same period in 2014. In Canada, the corresponding growth rates were +2.4% for services-producing industries and +0.1% for goods-producing industries.

Manufacturing sector down

Output in the manufacturing sector fell 0.2% in April, after an increase of 1.1% in March and a drop of 2.0% in February. The decrease posted in April was due to a 1.8% decline observed in non-durable goods manufacturing. Output in durable goods manufacturing rose by 0.9%.

The non-durable goods industries most affected by the decline were the food manufacturing and the plastics and rubber products manufacturing industries. As for durable goods industries, the increase was essentially due to primary metal manufacturing. In contrast, transportation equipment manufacturing was down.

Downturn in the construction industry

For the third month in a row, output in the construction industry decreased (-3.3% in April, -1.3% in March and -1.7% in February). The decline in April was essentially due to a drop in residential construction and in engineering construction. Regarding residential construction, the slowdown in new housing construction (singles, doubles and apartments) explains the result. There was also a decline in residential renovation.

Wholesale trade rises and retail trade drops

Output in wholesale trade increased 0.9% in April following zero growth in March and a 0.8% decrease in February. The gains recorded by motor vehicle and parts wholesaler-distributors (+10.0%), machinery, equipment and supplies wholesaler-distributors (+1.7%) and miscellaneous wholesaler-distributors (+ 2.4%) were behind the increase in April.

Output in retail trade declined 0.7% in April, after two consecutive increases (+0.6% in March and +1.1% in February). The drop in April was mostly attributable to the losses recorded by electronics and appliance stores (-9.5%), building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (-3.9%) and food and beverage stores (-2.2%).

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