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Monthly manufacturing sales slip again in July

Monthly manufacturing sales slip again in July

Posted on: 9/19/2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

Yesterday’s sod-turning for a new $360-million frozen potato processing facility in Lethbridge is a shot in the arm for Alberta’s manufacturing sector. The sector was hit hard by the recession with annual sales falling by 21.4 per cent between 2014 and 2016.

Food products–which includes frozen potato offerings such as French fries, hash browns and perogies–was one of only three subsectors that posted positive growth during the recession with annual sales increasing by 7.1 per cent between 2014 and 2016. (Sales of wood products increased by 2.4 per cent and sales of furniture managed to grow by 0.1 per cent.)

Monthly sales figures released today by Statistics Canada show that the recovery in the manufacturing sector stalled for the second straight month, falling by 3.4 per cent in July after a dip of 1.9 per cent in June.

Despite the drop in June and July, sales have improved over the first half of 2017 compared to 2016. Nonetheless, it will take some time for annual sales to reach, and then surpass, the pre-recession peak reached in 2014. Annual sales for 2017 are on pace to reach about $70 billion, well short of the almost $80 billion recorded in 2014.

The subsectors that saw the largest declines in sales in July are fabricated metal products (-8.3 per cent), furniture (-7.7 per cent), chemicals (-6.5 per cent). Food products also saw a drop in sales of -2.1 per cent.

With sales slumping in June and July, keep in mind that the next time you have a French fry or potato chip, you might be helping Alberta’s manufacturing sector.

Alberta monthly manufacturing shipments, graph?

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