Economic activity down in February 2016

Québec, May 30, 2016 – Québec’s real gross domestic product (GDP) at basic prices fell 0.2% in February 2016, following a 0.9% increase in January and a 0.2% increase in December 2015. In Canada, GDP edged down 0.1% in February. The goods-producing industries were primarily behind Québec’s decrease, with a 0.6% drop. The output of service industries remained stable in February. In addition, GDP for the first two months of 2016 was up 1.4% compared with the same months in 2015. In Canada, the corresponding rate was 1.5%.

The GDP drop in February was mainly due to losses in the manufacturing and construction sectors. In addition, 11 of the 20 major sectors of the Québec economy saw their production decrease in February.

Drop in goods production

In February 2016, goods-producing industries recorded a 0.6% decrease, following a 1.3% increase in January and a 0.6% increase in December 2015. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (-1.7%), construction (-2.0%) and manufacturing (-1.5%) all lowered their activity levels. However, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (+6.5%) and utilities (+ 3.4%) saw their output go up.

Production of services unchanged

In February, the service-producing industries output remained unchanged after six consecutive increases (+0.7% in January and +0.1% in December 2015). Several sectors experienced growth in February, including retail trade (+1.5%), real estate and rental and leasing (+0.3%), and government (+0.3%). However, output levels decreased for wholesale trade (-0.4%), transportation and warehousing (-0.5%), professional, scientific and technical services (-0.7%), administrative and support services, waste management and remediation services (-1.2%) and health care and social assistance (-0.3%).

Furthermore, in the first two months of 2016, service-producing industries grew 1.6%, while goods-producing industries went up 0.8% compared with the same period in 2015. In Canada, service-producing industries and goods-producing industries saw variations of +2.2% and -0.1%, respectively.

Manufacturing sector down

Output in the manufacturing sector decreased by 1.5% in February, following three consecutive increases (+1.2% in January 2016, +1.7% in December 2015 and +0.4% in November). The February drop was attributable to both non-durable goods (-1.1%) and durable goods manufacturing (-1.8%).

The main non-durable goods manufacturing industries responsible for the drop are food manufacturing and petroleum and coal product manufacturing. As for durable goods industries, their decrease was essentially due to metal product manufacturing and transportation equipment manufacturing. Moreover, 13 of the 19 manufacturing industries posted a drop in production in February.

Slowdown in the construction industry

Production in the construction industry dropped 2.0% in February, following a 0.9% increase in January and a 0.5% gain in December. The February drop was primarily due to losses observed in residential construction, construction of non-residential buildings, and engineering work. The residential sector decrease is due to a slowdown in new home construction (single and double houses and apartments). However, there were gains in residential renovation.

Wholesale trade down and retail trade up 

Output in the wholesale industry fell by 0.4% in February, following a 1.0% increase in January and a 0.2% gain in December. The losses recorded in food, beverage and tobacco wholesaler-distributors (-2.7%), motor vehicle and parts wholesaler-distributors (-4.8%) and miscellaneous wholesaler-distributors (-3.0%) were behind the February drop. However, output by building material and supplies wholesaler-distributors increased by 5.9% in February.

Output in retail trade went up 1.5% in February, following a 1.9% increase in January and a 1.6% drop in December. The February output increase was mainly due to gains in clothing and clothing accessories stores (+5.6%).


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Sources:

  • Mario Beaulieu
    Economist
    Phone: 418-691-2411, Ext. 3172
  • Réjean Aubé
    Economist
    Phone: 418-691-2411, Ext. 3142

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