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Canadian industries operated at 82 percent of their production capacity in the fourth quarter, up from 81.2 percent in the third quarter, according to the latest report from Statistics Canada.
The manufacturing sector was the main source of growth in the capacity utilization rate in the fourth quarter, accounting for more than half of the overall increase. The manufacturing sector operated at 80.7 percent of its capacity in the fourth quarter, up 0.8 percentage points from the third quarter. The transportation equipment manufacturing and food manufacturing industries were largely responsible for this increase.
Of the 21 major groups in the manufacturing sector, nine increased their capacity utilization. Capacity use was down in 12 industries, notably the fabricated metal products industry and the computer and electronic product manufacturing industry.
In the transportation equipment manufacturing industry, the rate rose 3 percentage points to 90.6 percent in the fourth quarter. Higher production of motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts and of aerospace products and parts was the main source of this increase.
For food manufacturers, capacity use rose from 74.2 percent to 77.5 percent in the fourth quarter.
As in the third quarter, the oil and gas extraction industry was the predominant source of growth in the capacity utilization rate for non-manufacturing industries in the fourth quarter. Higher extraction of non-conventional crude petroleum was primarily responsible for pushing the oil and gas extraction industry's capacity utilization rate up 1.5 percentage points to 87.5 percent.
After declining for eight consecutive quarters, the mining and quarrying industry's capacity utilization was up 1.5 percentage points to 63.1 percent, as a result of an increase in metallic and non-metallic mineral production.
Higher demand for electricity was responsible for an increase in the electric power generation, transmission and distribution industry's capacity use, which rose 1.6 percentage points to 89.1 percent.
Reduced activity in the forestry and logging industry accounted for the 3.2 percentage-point decline in its capacity utilization rate to 86.2 percent in the fourth quarter.
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