Economic activity remains unchanged in January 2017

Québec, April 25, 2017. – Québec’s real gross domestic product (GDP) at basic prices remained unchanged in January 2017, following a 0.5% rise in December. Canada’s GDP recorded a 0.6% rise in January. In Québec, the gains recorded in goods-producing industries (+0.6%) were completely cancelled out by the losses observed in service-producing industries (-0.2%). Moreover, Québec’s GDP was 1.9% higher compared to January 2016. In Canada, the corresponding rate was 2.3%.

The gains observed mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction, as well as in the manufacturing and retail trade sectors, were completely cancelled out by the losses recorded in utilities, construction, wholesale trade and educational services. Moreover 11 of the 20 major economic sectors saw their production level increase in January.

Rise in goods output

In January 2017, goods-producing industries recorded a 0.6% rise, following a 0.6% increase in December and 2.2% growth in November. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (+ 2.5%), mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction (+ 11.0%), and the manufacturing sector (+ 1.9%) increased their output. Conversely, utilities (– 3.0%) and construction (– 3.0%) saw their output drop.

Decline in service output

Service output was down 0.2% in January, after two consecutive rises (+ 0.4% in December and + 0.1% in November). Several sectors experienced increases in January, including retail trade (+ 1.8%), transportation and warehousing (+ 0.9%) and accommodation and food services (+ 0.9 %). On the other hand, wholesale trade (– 1.9%) and educational services (– 2.9%) reduced their output.

Moreover, compared to January 2016, service-producing industries grew by 1.7%, while goods-producing industries posted an increase of 2.5%.

Manufacturing sector posts a gain

Manufacturing sector output rose by 1.9% in January, after two consecutive increases (+ 1.6% in December and + 3.0% in November). January’s increase was attributable as much to the 1.9 % gain recorded in durable goods manufacturing as to the 1.8% increase observed in the non-durable goods manufacturing sector.

Growth in durable goods manufacturing industries was essentially attributable to metallic product manufacturing. The increase in non-durable goods manufacturing industries was mainly attributable to food manufacturing. In addition, 15 out of 19 manufacturing industries posted an increase in their output in January.

Slowdown in the construction industry

Construction industry output dropped by 3.0% in January, following a 0.4% increase in December. January’s drop is mainly explained by the losses observed in the residential building construction sector; this was due to the slowdown observed in new housing construction (single houses and apartments). A sharp decline in residential renovation was also noted.

January’s decline represents the strongest decrease in construction industry output since the June 2013 strike.

Wholesale trade down and retail trade up

Wholesale trade output was down 1.9% in January, following a 1.8% increase in December and a 0.9% drop in November. The losses recorded by building material and supplies wholesaler-distributors (– 8.9%), as well as machinery, equipment and supplies wholesaler-distributors (– 5.6%) provide the main explanation for January’s decline.

Retail trade output rose 1.8% in January, after a 1.4% drop in December and a 0.5% increase in November. Motor vehicle and parts dealers (+ 2.0%), food and beverage stores (+ 2.6%) and furniture and home furnishing stores (+ 2.6%) increased their output.

Relative to January 2016, retail output increased by 2.4%, while wholesale output grew by 0.5%.


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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