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Canadian Manufacturing Shipments Unchanged in May
July 17, 2007
Manufacturers in the Prairie Provinces showed strength, posting a  ; 3.5% gain in shipments, offsetting the  ; 2.6% loss the previous month. Alberta led the way with a robust  ; 3.7% jump to  ; $5.7  ; billion on the strong performances in computers and electronics (+22.7%), non-metallic minerals (+8.8%), and petroleum and coal products (+8.5%).
Shipments from Manitoba and Saskatchewan both moved ahead  ; 3.1% in May. Manitoba's shipment growth of  ; $40  ; million regained some of the  ; $136  ; million (-9.6%) lost in April. The gain was fuelled by the transportation and primary metal sectors, the industries that were responsible for the previous month's drop. For Saskatchewan, the largest sector, food products, was propelled upward  ; 6.4% on the strength of oilseed processing.
Manufacturers in Quebec saw shipments decrease  ; 1.0% in May. This was the first monthly loss recorded by the province since January. Primary metals (-8.3%) and paper products (-4.8%) were significant contributors to the deceleration in Quebec's strong shipment growth.
Resource-based manufacturing was at the core of shipment decreases in British Columbia (-2.2%) and Atlantic Canada (-3.1%) in May. In British Columbia, wood products dropped  ; 6.2%, putting a damper on the largest sector in the province.
For Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick manufacturers had a particularly weak month. Provincial shipments declined by  ; 6.0%, due to a combination of declines in resource-based sectors, including petroleum and coal products, primary metals and food products.
Unfilled orders Manufacturers' backlog of orders continued to swell, increasing by  ; 1.8% in May to  ; $49.1  ; billion. This was the eighth consecutive monthly increase in unfilled orders, which may be considered as an indicator of the future strength of manufacturing shipments.
The trend for unfilled orders has been steadily improving since last summer, increasing almost  ; 20% since May  ; 2006. However, excluding aerospace products and parts, unfilled orders have increased only  ; 1.1% in the past year.
Unfilled orders for aerospace products and parts jumped  ; 4.0% to  ; 21.2  ; billion, the highest level since March  ; 2002. In May, unfilled orders for the aerospace industry were up about  ; 56% compared with May  ; 2006.
Manufacturers in the miscellaneous group also saw unfilled orders continue to surge in May, gaining  ; 22.3% compared with April. This was the sixth increase in unfilled orders in the past seven months. Unfilled orders in this industry have almost doubled since December  ; 2006, largely because of strength in medical equipment and supplies manufacturing.
One of the primary offsetting factors for unfilled orders in May was a pull back in computer and electronic products and parts. Unfilled orders had surged  ; 8.2% in April, but fell back  ; 4.7% in May to  ; $3.4  ; billion.
New orders edge down New orders edged down  ; 0.5% in May to  ; $50.5  ; billion. After surging in December  ; 2006, new orders have largely stabilized around  ; $50  ; billion in  ; 2007, experiencing only modest month-to-month fluctuations.
Computer and electronic products contributed the largest decrease to new orders in May, plummeting  ; 27.7% after a  ; 24.1% increase in April.
On the other hand, new orders of aerospace products and parts jumped  ; 18.5% after remaining largely unchanged in April.