Motor Vehicles Shuttled Manufacturing Sales Higher in January

  • Canadian manufacturing sales grew by 0.2 per cent (m/m) in January. This was weaker than Statistics Canada’s flash estimate, which anticipated a 0.4 per cent gain. After accounting for price effects, real manufacturing sales volumes rose by 1.1 per cent (m/m).
  • Nominal sales grew in 11 of the 21 manufacturing subsectors. Sales of transportation equipment products (+$476 million) and chemical products (+$189 million) grew the most. Meanwhile, sales of fabricated metal products (–$274 million) saw the sharpest nominal decline.
  • Manufacturing sales grew in 7 of 10 provinces. In relative terms, sales fell the most in British Columbia (–5.1 per cent) and grew the most in Newfoundland and Labrador (+24.7 per cent).
  • New orders fell by 3.1 per cent, while unfilled orders declined by 1.3 per cent.

Key Insights

January brought a modest upswing to Canadian manufacturing sales. Sales of motor vehicles were one of the key contributors to growth, rising by 19.6 per cent from the previous month (seasonally adjusted). The sales surge resulted from resumed production following retooling at auto assembly plants in Ontario. At the same time, sales of interest rate-sensitive durable goods fell by 0.3 per cent (m/m). But overall, January’s strong points of the sales ledger were enough to outweigh large sales declines in primary and fabricated metal products and petroleum and coal products.

Investment intentions within Canada’s manufacturing landscape bode positively for the sector’s medium-term growth. In February, Statistics Canada’s annual capital and repair expenditures report revealed that the country’s manufacturing sector posted the strongest growth in investment intentions of any industry in 2024 (+31.0 per cent). The transportation manufacturing subsector registered a doubling of capital investment intentions compared to last year driven by anticipated investments in electric vehicle manufacturing infrastructure. However, the future may be less bright for other manufacturing subsectors. Capital investment intentions in the wood manufacturing industry, for example, fell by 14.2 per cent. This decline is reflective of the chronic structural challenges that the sector faces, such as declining timber stocks and uncertainty about forestry’s potential in key provinces like British Columbia.

Person welding metal

For more details about Canadian manufacturing and industrial trends, please explore our Industry Lens reports.