Economic activity down in February 2015

Québec, May 22, 2015 – Québec’s real gross domestic product (GDP) at basic prices was down 0.1% in February 2015 following a 0.3% increase in January. In Canada, GDP remained unchanged compared with January. The goods-producing industries were behind Québec’s decline. They recorded a 0.6% drop, while output in services-producing industries increased by 0.1%. In addition, GDP for the first two months of 2015 was up 1.3% compared with the same months in 2014. In Canada, it grew 2.3%.

The drop in GDP in February was essentially due to losses observed in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, construction, manufacturing, and transportation and warehousing. However, utilities, especially electricity production, saw their output levels rise considerably.

Decline in the production of goods

In February 2015, goods-producing industries recorded a 0.6% decline following two consecutive increases (+1.2% in January and +0.3% in December). Output was down in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (-2.7%), construction (-1.7%) and manufacturing (-1.8%). However, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (+0.9%) as well as utilities (+5.5%) recorded gains.

Rise in service production

Service output rose 0.1% in February following a 0.1% decline in January and zero growth in December. There were gains in retail trade (+1.0%), finance and insurance (+0.7%), professional, scientific and technical services (+0.5%), as well as administrative and support, waste management and remediation services (+0.7%). In contrast, output declined in wholesale trade (-0.6%), transportation and warehousing (-1.2%), and accommodation and food services (-1.4%).

Services-producing and goods-producing industries both grew 1.3% in the first two months of 2015 compared with the same period in 2014. In Canada, the growth rates were +2.3% for services-producing industries and +2.1% for goods-producing industries.

Manufacturing sector down

Output in the manufacturing sector declined 1.8% in February, after two consecutive increases (+0.3% in January and +2.5% in December). This drop was due to a 3.1% decrease observed in durable goods manufacturing. Output in non-durable goods manufacturing remained stable.

The durable goods manufacturing sectors that were most affected are primary metal, wood product, and transportation equipment manufacturing. Regarding the manufacturing of non-durable goods, the declines recorded in clothing, leather and allied products manufacturing and paper manufacturing were completely offset by the gains registered in food manufacturing and beverage and tobacco product manufacturing.

Downturn in the construction industry

Output in the construction industry declined 1.7% in February following an increase of 0.8% in January and a drop of 1.2% in December. The decline in February was essentially due to a decrease in residential construction. This slowdown affected new housing construction (singles, doubles, apartments and row houses). There was also a decline in residential renovation.

Wholesale trade down and retail trade up

Output in wholesale trade was down 0.6% in February, after a 0.8% increase in January and a 0.4% drop in December. The losses recorded by building material and supplies wholesaler-distributors (-5.0%), machinery, equipment and supplies wholesaler-distributors (-2.4%) and miscellaneous wholesaler-distributors (-6.3%) were behind the decrease registered in February.

Output in retail trade increased 1.0% in February following zero growth in January and a 1.3% decrease in December. The increase recorded in February was mostly due to gains registered by motor vehicle and parts dealers (+2.9%) and general merchandise stores (+ 3.3%).

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