Ottawa, ON — As 2005 drew to a close, volatility in the manufacturing sector continued, says Statistics Canada in its Monthly Survey of Manufacturing for December 2005.
In December, manufacturers stepped up production with gains in the petroleum products and auto parts industries, although shipments essentially bounced back from a weak November.
Manufacturing shipments rose 1.4% to $52.1 billion in December, offsetting the 1.4% decline in November. Demand for a wide range of manufacturing goods, coupled with some factories returning to full production following temporary slowdowns in recent months, contributed to the year-end gain.
Alternating increases and decreases have been characteristic of the monthly shipment values in 2005. Despite December’s sizeable increase in shipments, many manufacturers have been facing an uphill battle.
Soaring input costs, a very strong Canadian dollar and intense global competition have cut into the bottom line of the manufacturing sector. Although the upward trend for shipments persevered as 2005 drew to a close, the trend’s pace has been gradually decelerating since the summer.
Thousands of factory jobs have been lost over the last year, as the sector attempts to restructure itself. According to the latest Labour Force Survey, there were 145,000 fewer manufacturing jobs in January 2006 compared to one year ago.