Lower production in January led to a drop in capacity utilization for Canadian manufacturers.
The capacity utilization rate (not seasonally adjusted) for the total manufacturing sector decreased from 75.7% in December to 74.1% in January, according to Statistics Canada data.
The capacity utilization rate fell in 12 of 21 industries, driven by transportation equipment (-9.8 percentage points), primary metal (-4.1 percentage points) and non-metallic mineral product (-11.2 percentage points). Shutdowns at auto assembly plants were responsible for the decline in the capacity utilization rate of the transportation industry, which is down 9.8% from the previous month and 11.8% compared to the previous year, standing at just 61.2%.
Capacity utilization for primary metal manufacturing was down to 69.7% in January but capacity utilization for fabricated metal product manufacturing stood at 71.2 %, a 1.2% increase from the previous month and a 4.1% increase from January a year ago.
The total value of unfilled orders rose 1.8% to $99.5 billion in January mostly due to higher unfilled orders of aerospace product and parts (+1.5%) and machinery (+5.1%). On the positive end, the total value of new orders increased 1.1% to $66.6 billion in January.