April 16, 2009

Canadian manufacturing up in February

Canadian manufacturing sales rose 2.2 percent to $42.9 billion in February, the first increase since last July, Statistics Canada reported from Ottawa Thursday.

The increase was largely fueled by a surge in automotive production in Ontario, where motor vehicle manufacturers reported a 34.5 percent sales gain and parts sales were up 38.5 percent, the agency said.

Excluding that gain, all other manufacturing sales were down 0.2 percent, the seventh monthly decline in a row.

Primary metal manufacturers reported a 3.5 percent increase in February, while petroleum and coal product sales decreased 3.3 percent following an 11 percent gain in January, StatsCan said.

Ontario led the way with a 7.2 percent increase in February following six months of decreasing sales, the report said. Even with February's gain, total manufacturing sales in Ontario remained almost 20 percent below year-ago levels.

Two other provinces posted notable manufacturing sales increases, as Newfoundland and Labrador rose 8.4 percent and Saskatchewan saw a 3 percent gain.