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Industrial wholesale sales remain flat

Ottawa - Wholesale sales advanced by 0.3% in March 2013 to $49.1 billion, according to Statistics Canada. The increase was mainly due to higher sales in the motor vehicle industry. Since May 2012, wholesale sales have been relatively flat.


Ottawa – Wholesale sales advanced by 0.3% in March 2013 to $49.1 billion, according to Statistics Canada. The increase was mainly due to higher sales in the motor vehicle industry. Since May 2012, wholesale sales have been relatively flat.

In volume terms, wholesale sales were up 0.1% in March.

In March, four of the seven subsectors reported gains, accounting for about two-thirds of wholesale sales. Excluding the motor vehicle and parts subsector, wholesale sales were unchanged.

Sales in the motor vehicle and parts subsector rose 2.0% to $8.5 billion in March, its second consecutive increase. The advance in March largely reflected higher sales in the motor vehicle industry (+3.9%), which represents about three-quarters of this subsector.

In the miscellaneous subsector, sales rose by 1.4%. The increase was largely driven by a 7.8% gain in the agricultural supplies industry, the fifth increase in six months.

Sales in the building materials and supplies subsector rose by 0.6%. All three industries in this subsector posted higher sales, with the majority of the increase coming from the electrical, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning equipment and supplies industry.

The largest decline in dollar terms was in the personal and household goods subsector (-0.9%), mainly as a result of a 2.4% decrease in the pharmaceuticals and pharmacy supplies industry.

Wholesalers in three provinces reported increases in sales for March.

Ontario posted a 1.4% increase, offsetting February’s decline. Wholesalers in the province benefited mainly from higher sales in the motor vehicle industry.

The 6.6% increase in Saskatchewan was primarily due to the agricultural supplies industry, which represented over one-third of the province’s sales.

In British Columbia, sales increased by 0.5%.

These gains were partially offset by the 3.5% decline in Alberta, the province’s first decrease in three months. The decline was largely due to weakness in the building material and supplies subsector within the province.

The declines in the remaining provinces largely reflect the weakness of sales in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector and the personal and household goods subsector.

Slight increase in inventories

Wholesale inventories rose 0.1% in March to $61.8 billion. Inventories were up in two of the seven subsectors.

The increases were in the inventories of the motor vehicle and parts subsector (+1.1%) and the building materials and supplies subsector (+0.5%).

The inventory-to-sales ratio was unchanged at 1.26 in March.

The inventory-to-sales ratio is a measure of the time in months required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level.

Job vacancies, three-month average ending in February 2013

Canadian businesses had 210,000 job vacancies in February, a decrease of 26,000 from February 2012. There were 6.4 unemployed people for every job vacancy, up from 5.9 one year earlier.

The increase in the ratio of unemployment to job vacancies was a result of a faster decrease in the number of job vacancies than in the number of unemployed people.

The national job vacancy rate was 1.5% in February, down from 1.7% 12 months earlier.