OTTAWA (CP) — Manufacturers started 2008 with a modest but positive lift after closing out 2007 on a dismal note.
Manufacturing sales increased 1.3 percent in January to $49.3 billion, as the sector struggled to spring back from the three-year low posted in December, when sales dropped 3.7 percent.
Statistics Canada reports manufacturing sales remained 7.1 percent below the recent peak of $53.1 billion in March 2007.
Much of the weakness continued to come from the motor vehicle and parts industry, which has faced several production impediments in recent months.
In January, however, manufacturing sales of motor vehicles lifted 4.5 percent to $3.9 billion, regaining some of December's 25.6 percent decline.
Machinery sales rebounded 5.8 percent to $2.7 billion after three straight decreases, while higher grain prices and record production from oilseed processors helped push the sales of food manufacturers up 1.3 percent to $6.1 billion.
Production of aerospace products and parts fell 4.1 percent to $1.3 billion in January, although robust demand for aircraft and parts, based on record high unfilled orders, should keep manufacturers busy in the foreseeable future.
Petrochemical and fertilizer declines drove manufacturing sales by the chemical industry down in January, as the sector slipped 1.4 percent to $4.1 billion.
Manufacturing sales increased in seven provinces in January, as the moderate gains were widespread.
Ontario (two percent) and Quebec (1.2) were both integral to the $633 million lift in January sales, accounting for almost 97 percent of the total jump.