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Canadian industries operated at 82.5 percent of their production capacity in the first quarter, up from 82.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to the latest report from Statistics Canada. The rate in the first quarter was the highest since the second quarter of 2007.
Mining and oil and gas extraction were the main source of growth in the capacity utilization rate in the first quarter, more than offsetting declines in manufacturing and forestry and logging.
Oil and gas extraction operated at 88.7 percent of its capacity in the first quarter, down 1.9 percentage points to 88.7% in the first quarter. The mining and quarrying industry operated at 65.5 of its capacity, up 2.3 percentage points. The higher rate was due to an increase in metallic and non-metallic mineral extraction. Forestry and logging operated at 84.8 percent of its capacity, down 2.3 percentage points in the first quarter.
The manufacturing sector operated at 81.2 percent of its capacity in the first quarter, down 0.1 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2013. The chemical product manufacturing and transportation equipment manufacturing industries were largely responsible for this decrease.
Of the 21 major groups in the manufacturing sector, 12 increased their capacity utilization and capacity use was down in 9 industries.
Chemical product manufacturers declined 1.8 percentage points to 76.5 percent.
In the transportation equipment manufacturing industry, the rate fell 0.8 percentage points to 90.5 percent in the first quarter. Lower production of motor vehicles the main source of this decrease.
The wood product manufacturing and beverage and tobacco product manufacturing major groups were up, partly compensating for the decline in the manufacturing sector's overall rate.
Production increased in all wood product manufacturing subsectors, increasing 2.5 percentage points to 89.8 percent. The beverage and tobacco product manufacturing industry increased its capacity utilization rate from 73.2 percent to 76.7 percent between the fourth quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014. Beverage production was up, offsetting the decline in tobacco product manufacturing.
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