OTTAWA (CP) -- Manufacturing sales rose 5.5 percent in July to $41.4 billion, adding to the 2.2 percent increase reported in June, Statistics Canada reports.
The agency said Wednesday the July jump came with improved performances in the motor vehicle, motor vehicle parts and primary metals industries.
Production in the motor vehicle industry rose 48.2 percent in July to $3.3 billion, as some assembly lines resumed production following extended shutdowns.
Sales in the auto parts industry increased 30 percent to $1.5 billion in July, reflecting higher demand from assembly plants.
However, overall July manufacturing sales were still 22.4 percent below the $53.3 billion recorded a year earlier.
Excluding the motor vehicle assembly and parts industries, manufacturing sales increased 2.1 percent.
Sales in 15 of 21 manufacturing industries increased in July, representing 66 percent of total sales.
While the auto sector improved in July, vehicle sales were lower than levels seen over the past few years. July car and truck sales were down 22.6 percent from the same period a year ago.
Sales in the primary metals industry rose 11.2 percent in July to $2.7 billion.
Aerospace products and parts rose 12.2 percent and plastics and rubber products were up 9.0 percent.
The largest declines came in sales of petroleum and coal products (off 3.6 percent) and food (down 1.3 percent).
Lower prices were blamed for the drop in petroleum and coal products.
Ontario showed an 11.9 percent increase in sales in July as its auto plants rebounded.
Excluding motor vehicles and parts, Ontario's manufacturing sales rose 4.1 percent. The province also benefited from a 34.2 percent rise in sales of primary metals.
In Quebec, sales increased 4.0 percent, adding to a 6.0 percent rise in June. The advance was broadly based as higher sales were seen in 17 of 21 industries. Aerospace firms posted the largest increase in production in dollar terms, rising 6.4 percent.
Sales fell by 4.0 percent in Alberta in July, largely because of a 10.7 percent drop in food sales. Lower petroleum and coal product sales also contributed to the decline.
Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and British Columbia all recorded declines in sales.
Manufacturers reported a 2.0 percent drop in inventories compared with June. Inventories have been decreasing all year.
The backlog of unfilled orders fell 4.3 percent in July to $57.1 billion, largely due to a 6.4 percent decline in the aerospace industry.
New orders fell 3.7 percent in July to $38.8 billion. The decline was concentrated in the aerospace industry.