OTTAWA (CP) -- Manufacturing sales rose 1.4 percent in September to $41.7 billion, largely reflecting increases in the motor vehicle industry.
Statistics Canada reports manufacturing sales have increased in three of the past four months after dropping to a recent low of $38.5 billion in May.
Despite the recent gains, sales remained 18.6 percent below September 2008 levels.
While most of September's gains were in the motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts industries, other durable goods industries, such as primary metals and fabricated metals, also contributed.
Constant dollar manufacturing sales rose 1.8 percent in September.
Sales advanced in 14 of the 21 manufacturing industries, accounting for 53.1 percent of total sales.
Motor vehicle sales increased 16.4 percent to $3.8 billion, the highest level since September 2008, while motor vehicle parts sales gained 13.7 percent.
Excluding motor vehicles, parts and accessories, manufacturing sales edged down 0.4 percent during the month.
Primary metal manufacturers reported a 6.7 percent sales gain compared with August.
Some of these gains were offset by a steep decline in the aerospace products and parts industry, where production fell 28.6 percent in September after a 34.2 percent drop in August.
Other industries reporting sales declines included chemical products (down 2.5 percent) and petroleum and coal products (down 1.6).
Sales in Saskatchewan jumped 16.1 percent from August, while Ontario was up five percent.
Most of the weakness in manufacturing was centred in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces, which reported 2.2 percent and 12.4 percent declines respectively.
Inventory levels fell for an eighth straight month, decreasing 1.9 percent in September to $59.9 billion, the lowest level for inventory stockpiles since February 2000. Inventories decreased in 17 of 21 manufacturing industries in September.
New orders gained 8.3 percent in September to $41.3 billion, their highest level since last December.