Ottawa, ON — Real gross domestic product was unchanged in April 2011 after increasing 0.3% in March 2011, according to Statistics Canada. Both the goods-producing and the services sectors remained unchanged in April.
Significant increases were recorded in mining of metal ore and coal. Retail trade, the public sector, construction and utilities also advanced. However, this growth was offset by declines in manufacturing and, to a lesser extent, in wholesale trade and the finance, insurance and real estate sector. Transportation services were unchanged.
Metal ore and coal bolster mining
Mining rose 1.0% in April, primarily on the strength of copper, nickel, lead and zinc mining. Coal mining also contributed to this growth. Support activities for mining oil and gas extraction continued to advance. Overall, oil and gas extraction was down 0.3%, as a reduction in natural gas production outweighed higher production of crude petroleum.
Motor vehicle and parts production leads the decline in manufacturing
Manufacturing decreased 0.7%, with most of the decline concentrated in the production of durable goods. The 6.9% decrease in motor vehicles and parts production was mostly due to supply disruptions as a consequence of the tsunami in Japan. This decrease, combined with lower production of aerospace products, led to a 4.7% reduction in manufacturing of transportation equipment.
Manufacturers of furniture and related products, printed products and electric equipment also cut back production. Conversely, manufacturing of machinery, notably of mining and oil and gas machinery, and of food products increased.
Retail trade up, wholesale trade down
Retail trade increased 0.5% in April after declining 1.2% the month before. Increases were registered at furniture and home furnishings stores, new and used car dealers as well as at clothing and accessory stores. In contrast, activity at building material and garden equipment and supplies stores was down.
Wholesale trade decreased 0.5% in April. Wholesalers of motor vehicle and parts, petroleum products and building materials reported declines. Conversely, wholesaling of food, beverage and tobacco products as well as of personal and household goods and of machinery and equipment increased.
Construction activity edges up
Construction edged up 0.1% following the 0.9% increase in March. Engineering and repair work grew while residential construction declined on account of decreases in single dwellings, renovations and apartments.
The output of real estate agents and brokers decreased 4.4%, reflecting lower home resale activity in most provinces.
Finance and insurance sector continues to decline
The finance and insurance sector fell 0.4%. The decrease was attributable to declines in the volume of personal and business loans and deposits at financial institutions, as well as in the volume of trading on the stock exchanges. Activity at insurance carriers fell 0.5%.