Economic activity down in August 2017

Québec, November 28, 2017. – Québec’s real gross domestic product (GDP) at basic prices declined 0.5% in August, following an increase of 1.3% in July. In Canada, GDP edged down 0.1%. The slowdown in Québec was observed across many sectors. Output levels dropped significantly in 11 out of the 20 major sectors in August, and stagnated in 6 other sectors. Only 3 out of the 20 major sectors were unaffected by the decline and recorded increases: accommodation and food services (+1.0%); professional, scientific and technical services (+0.3%); and wholesale trade (+0.8%).

Québec’s GDP for the first eight months of 2017 was up 2.9% compared with the same months in 2016. In Canada, the corresponding rate was 3.5%.

Decline in goods production

In August 2017, goods-producing industries recorded a 1.6% drop, following a 2.7% increase in July. Output was down in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (-2.4%), mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (-8.0%), manufacturing (-1.2%) as well as in construction (-1.6%). The output level remained unchanged in the utilities sector.

Service output down

Service output was down 0.1% in August, following an increase of 0.7% in July. Output declined in several sectors in August, including retail trade (-1.0%); transportation and warehousing (-0.4%); real estate and rental and leasing (-0.2%); administrative and support, waste management and remediation services (-0.7%); educational services (-0.7%); health care and social assistance (-0.2%); and arts, entertainment and recreation (-0.2%). Conversely, output levels increased in accommodation and food services, professional, scientific and technical services, and wholesale trade.

In the first eight months of 2017, service-producing industries grew by 3.1%, while goods-producing industries were up 2.2% compared with the same period in 2016.

Downturn in the manufacturing sector

Output in the manufacturing sector dropped by 1.2% in August, following a 2.3% increase in July. The decrease in August was on account of a 0.8% drop in durable goods manufacturing and a 1.8% drop in non-durable goods manufacturing.

The decrease in durable goods manufacturing was essentially due to the non-metallic mineral product manufacturing and fabricated metal product manufacturing subsectors. In contrast, the machinery manufacturing subsector was up. As for the decline in non-durable goods manufacturing, it was mainly attributable to the paper manufacturing, chemical manufacturing, and plastics and rubber products manufacturing subsectors.

Decline in the construction industry

Output in the construction industry slid by 1.6% in August, following an increase of 0.5% in July. The drop in August was essentially due to the losses registered in the residential construction and engineering construction sectors. However, there were gains in non-residential building construction.

Wholesale trade rises and retail trade drops

Output in wholesale trade was up 0.8% in August, following an increase of 2.8% in July and a drop of 0.8% in June. The gains recorded by food, beverage and tobacco wholesaler-distributors (+2.9%), miscellaneous wholesaler-distributors (+3.5%), and motor vehicle and parts wholesaler-distributors (+5.0%) accounted for a large part of the increase in August.

Output in retail trade decreased by 1.0% in August after stagnating in July. The decline in August was mainly due to the losses registered by motor vehicle and parts dealers (-3.5%), building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (-5.8%), and health and personal care stores (-2.6%).


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.

– 30 –


Sources :