MRO Magazine

Manufacturing sales flatten in September

Ottawa, ON -- Manufacturing sales edged up 0.1% to $52.2 billion in September 2008 after a sizeable 3.7% decrease i...


November 17, 2008
By MRO Magazine


Ottawa, ON — Manufacturing sales edged up 0.1% to $52.2 billion in September 2008 after a sizeable 3.7% decrease in August 2008, reports Statistics Canada in its latest Monthly Survey of Manufacturing.


However, measured in constant dollars, manufacturing sales rose 0.7% compared with August as a result of decreasing industrial product prices. The constant dollar measurement takes price fluctuations into account, providing an indicator of the volume of sales during the month. The constant dollar gain in September followed a notable 4.0% decrease in August.



At the industry level, 13 of 21 manufacturing industries increased in September.


The transportation equipment industry (+1.1%) reported the largest gain in September, increasing for the fourth time in five months. Sales gains were mostly due to a 4.8% rise in production by aerospace product and parts manufacturers. Motor vehicle manufacturers reported a 0.3% decline in September after slipping 4.7% in August.


Primary metal manufacturers posted the most notable decrease in September, reporting a 3.0% drop in sales. Sales by primary metal manufacturers were affected for the most part by a 2.8% decrease in prices.


Provincial sales results mixed


Manufacturing sales results were mixed at the provincial level, with an even split between gains and losses.


Manufacturers in Alberta led all provincial gains in September, reporting a 4.2% increase in sales. Despite a 4.5% drop in prices, petroleum and coal product manufacturers reported a 7.3% increase in sales. Primary metal manufacturers in the province also reported strong sales for September.


Quebec manufacturers saw sales increase 1.6% in September. Sales have been trending steadily higher over the past year and now stand 7.8% above September 2007. The transportation equipment industry, led by aerospace products and parts manufacturers, accounted for much of September’s gains. Sales in the transportation industry rebounded by 14.7% after three consecutive monthly decreases.


Manufacturing sales in Ontario lost ground for a second consecutive month, slipping 0.9%. Primary metal sales for the province decreased 8.6% on the heels of a similar sized decrease in August. The transportation equipment industry also reported lower sales in September, declining by 1.2%. Motor vehicles and motor vehicle part manufacturers in September both had lower sales in Ontario.


Inventory levels ease slightly


Inventory levels eased for the first time in seven months, decreasing 0.3% compared with August. For the most part, manufacturers have been steadily building inventories in 2008 after having drawn down inventories throughout 2007.


Petroleum and coal product manufacturers were the primary source of the decline in September. Manufacturers in this industry reported a 6.0% drop as they mostly drew down their raw material inventories. This was the third consecutive monthly decrease in inventories by petroleum and coal manufacturers. Excluding petroleum and coal product manufacturers, inventories increased by 0.3% in September.


The inventory-to-sales ratio edged down to 1.29 in September after a six point gain in August. Despite some recent fluctuations, the current ratio remained very close to both the one- and three-year average of 1.30. The inventory-to-sales ratio is a measure of the time, in months, that would be required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level.


Unfilled orders decreased 0.3% in September, t
he first decline since April 2008. Overall, unfilled orders have been rising fairly steadily over the past four years. Unfilled orders edged down to $66.2 billion in September, but remained 19.6% higher than September 2007.


The decrease in unfilled orders was the result of a 1.2% reduction of orders by aerospace product and parts manufacturers. Excluding the aerospace industry, unfilled orders rose 0.5% in September.


New orders dropped 3.6% in September, also as a result of a sizeable decrease in the aerospace products and parts industry. This was a second consecutive monthly decrease after three months of gains.