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Taken from Statistics Canada
Canadian manufacturers ended  ; 2006  ; on a positive note as factory shipments increased for the second month in a row in December, thanks to strength in the transportation equipment sector.
The year-end rally was not enough to offset several months of weak performances earlier in the year. As a result, total shipments for  ; 2006  ; as a whole edged down  ; 0.6% to  ; $587.4  ; billion from the peak level in  ; 2005.
December's increase was widespread, with  ; 13  ; sectors representing  ; 74% of total output improving. On a monthly basis, factories shipped goods worth an estimated  ; $49.7  ; billion in December, up  ; 1.7% from November. The transportation sector, led by automobiles, shipped  ; $10.2  ; billion worth of product in December, the first time in  ; 2006  ; that it had surpassed the $10-billion mark.
There were no clear winners and losers among the various sectors in manufacturing last year. Taking price fluctuations into account, the annual volume of shipments fell  ; 1.6% to  ; $539.3  ; billion, a decline of nearly  ; $9  ; billion.
Still,  ; 2005  ; had seen the highest level of constant dollar shipments on record while  ; 2006  ; real shipments were more in line with  ; 2003  ; levels.
Again, taking price fluctuations into account, the volume of shipments in December rose  ; 1.4% to  ; $45.6  ; billion.
December's shipments of durable goods jumped  ; 3.0% to  ; $27.5  ; billion, the third consecutive monthly increase following declines through the third quarter. Again, this was due to a strong showing in the transportation equipment sector.
Non-durable goods shipments edged up  ; 0.2% to  ; $22.2  ; billion in December. Higher shipments of petroleum and coal were nearly offset by declines in chemicals.
Manufacturers started  ; 2006  ; in a cautious mood, according to the Business Conditions Survey through  ; 2006, but became increasingly pessimistic as the year wore on. Coming off a stellar year in  ; 2005, respondents to the opinion survey reported that the appreciation of the Canadian dollar, higher raw materials costs and competition from cheaper foreign imports were growing impediments to production. Meanwhile, manufacturers in Western Canada listed a lack of skilled labour as a limiting factor to production.
In  ; 2006, manufacturing job losses were seen primarily in Ontario and Quebec. In contrast, large gains in manufacturing were seen in Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba over the course of the year.
According to the Labour Force Survey, manufacturing employment took an upturn in December, as the sector gained  ; 10,000  ; jobs. But during  ; 2006  ; as a whole, manufacturing lost  ; 59,000  ; jobs, a  ; 2.7% decline from  ; 2005.
Transportation Equipment Shipments High
Motor vehicle shipments increased  ; 7.2% to  ; $5.6  ; billion, driving the transportation equipment sector revival, now in its second month after four consecutive losses. The sector shipped  ; $10.2  ; billion worth of product in December, the first time it has passed the $10-billion mark in  ; 2006.
Aerospace shipments rose  ; 4.1% to  ; $1.4  ; billion, the second consecutive monthly gain. In spite of a shaky first half of the year, aerospace shipments in  ; 2006  ; finished the year down only  ; 0.7% compared to  ; 2005, as a result of strong shipments in November and December  ; 2006.
Riding an increase in the price of petroleum and coal products in December, shipments from Canadian refineries advanced