Economic activity down in August 2016

Québec, November 25, 2016 – Québec’s real gross domestic product (GDP) at basic prices dropped by 0.5% in August 2016, following a 0.5% increase in July. In Canada, GDP was up 0.2% in August. The decrease in Québec was essentially due to goods-producing industries. They recorded a 1.6% drop, while the output of service-producing industries remained unchanged in August. Québec’s GDP for the first eight months of 2016 was up 1.7% compared with the same months in 2015. In Canada, the corresponding rate was 1.3%.

The GDP decline in August was largely due to the losses recorded in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; construction; manufacturing; and educational services. Eleven out of the 20 major economic sectors saw their output level drop in August.

Decline in the production of goods

In August 2016, goods-producing industries posted a 1.6% drop, following a 0.8% increase in July. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (–0.5%); mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (–6.9%); construction (–1.3%); and manufacturing (–1.9%) reduced their output. Utility production was up (+0.6%).

Output in service-producing industries unchanged

The output of service-producing industries remained unchanged in August, following a 0.4% rise in July and a 0.1% rise in June. There were increases in several sectors in August, including real estate and rental and leasing (+0.2%); professional, scientific and technical services (+0.3%); accommodation and food services (+0.9%); and public administration (+0.7%). Conversely, wholesale trade (–0.8%); finance and insurance (–0.4%); and educational services (–1.2%) reduced their output.

In the first eight months of 2016, service-producing industries recorded 2.0% growth, while goods-producing industries posted 0.8% growth over the same period in 2015. In Canada, the rates were +2.3% and –0.9% for service-producing industries and goods-producing industries, respectively.

Manufacturing sector down

Output in the manufacturing sector dropped by 1.9% in August, following a 1.4% increase in July and a 1.0% increase in June. The drop in August was mainly due to the 2.4% loss recorded in the durable goods manufacturing sector. A 1.2% decrease was also observed in the non-durable goods manufacturing sector.

The primary durable goods manufacturing industries responsible for this decrease were wood product; metal product; and electrical equipment, appliance and component manufacturing industries. The decrease in non-durable goods manufacturing industries was essentially on account of the chemical and plastics and rubber products manufacturing industries.

Downturn in the construction industry

For the fifth consecutive month, production in the construction industry was down (–1.3% in August, –0.9% in July and –0.3% in June). The drop in August was mainly due to the losses observed in the residential construction and engineering construction. The decrease in the residential sector was due to the slowdown observed in new housing construction (single and double houses). Residential renovation also declined.

Wholesale trade down and retail trade up

Output in the wholesale trade sector was down 0.8% in August, following an increase of 0.7% in July and a drop of 0.2% in June. The losses recorded by motor vehicle and parts wholesaler-distributers (–7.3%) and building material and supplies wholesaler-distributors (–5.3%) were the main reasons for this downturn in August.

Output in retail trade rose by 0.1% in August, following a 0.1% increase in July and a 1.0% drop in June. Food stores (+1.1%) and health and personal care stores (+1.4%) increased their output.


The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyzes and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is responsible for carrying out all statistical surveys of general interest. The relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.


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