Economic activity unchanged in April 2016

Québec, July 19, 2016 – Québec’s real gross domestic product (GDP) at basic prices remained unchanged in April 2016, following two consecutive drops (–0.1% in March and –0.2% in February). In Canada, GDP rose by 0.1% in April. In Québec, the gains recorded in goods-producing industries (+0.3%) were completely offset by the losses in services-producing industries (–0.2%). For the first four months of 2016, Québec’s GDP was up 1.1% compared with the same months in 2015. In Canada, the corresponding rate was 1.4%.

The gains observed in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction, as well as in public services and real estate and rental and leasing were entirely offset by the drops recorded in manufacturing, wholesale trade, and arts, entertainment and recreation. Furthermore, 11 of the 20 major sectors of Québec’s economy saw their output levels decrease in April.

Increase in the production of goods

In April 2016, goods-producing industries recorded a rise of 0.3%, after two consecutive drops (–0.4% in March and –0.6% in February). The output of agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (+2.3%), mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (+3.9%) and public services (+3.1%) increased, though it dropped for construction (–0.8%) and manufacturing (–0.6%).

Drop in service production

Output in services-producing industries was down 0.2% in April, following a 0.1% increase in March and a 0.1% drop in February. Several sectors experienced a downturn in April, including wholesale trade (–1.5%), retail trade (–0.7%), healthcare and social assistance (–0.4%) and arts, entertainment and recreation (–6.4%). However, real estate and rental and leasing (+0.5%), educational services (+0.6%) and public administration (+0.5%) increased their output.

In the first four months of 2016, the services-producing industries grew by 1.6%, while goods-producing industries dropped by 0.2% compared with the same period in 2015. In Canada, the growth rates were +2.2% and –0.5% for, respectively, the services-producing and goods-producing industries.

Manufacturing sector down

For the third consecutive month, production in the manufacturing sector was down (–0.6% in April, –0.2% in March and –1.4% in February). The drop in April was attributable to a 1.8% loss in durable goods manufacturing. Conversely, non-durable goods manufacturing was up 0.9%.

The main durable goods manufacturing industries responsible for the decrease were wood products and machinery. As for non-durable goods manufacturing, the increase is mainly due to the monthly production of oil, coal and chemical products. In addition, 11 out of 19 manufacturing industries recorded a production slowdown in April.

Downturn in the construction industry

Output in the construction industry was down 0.8% in April, after a 2.7% increase in March and a 2.2% drop in February. The decline in April was essentially due to a drop in residential construction, which was due to a slowdown in new housing construction (single houses and apartments). However, there were gains in residential renovation.

Decrease in both wholesale and retail trade

Output in the wholesale trade was down 1.5% in April, after an increase of 1.2% in March and a drop of 1.5% in February. The losses recorded by food, beverage and tobacco wholesaler-distributors (–2.6%), personal and household goods wholesaler-distributors (–1.9%) and machinery, equipment and supplies wholesaler-distributors (–2.5%) were the reason for the April decrease.

Output in the retail trade was down 0.7% in April, after a drop of 1.0% in March and a rise of 1.3% in February. April’s output drop was mostly attributable to the losses recorded in clothing and clothing accessories stores (–5.4%).


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