CANADA'S LEADING INFORMATION SOURCE FOR THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY

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CANADA'S LEADING INFORMATION SOURCE FOR THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY

CANADA'S LEADING INFORMATION SOURCE FOR THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY

Canadian manufacturing drops but fabricators show resilience

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Fabricated metal product manufacturing sales were up both month over month and year over year in March. PHOTO courtesy Cosen Saws.

Fabricated metal product manufacturing bucked the national manufacturing sales trend in March with sales increasing 2.4% from the previous month and 0.5% year over year.

In contrast, Canadian manufacturing sales overall decreased 2.1% to $69.9 billion in March. The drop was led by lower sales of petroleum and coal products (-8.0%) and motor vehicles (-7.9%) while the machinery subsector experienced the largest increase, rising 2.9% to $4.5 billion in March. On a quarterly basis, total manufacturing sales in current dollars were down 0.9% in the first quarter of 2024, primarily attributed to lower sales of transportation equipment (-3.0%) and primary metals (-4.4%).

Automotive is a critical market for metalworking job shops so it’s important to understand the drop off there. Following two consecutive monthly increases, sales of motor vehicles declined 7.9% to $4.6 billion in March, while sales of motor vehicle parts were down 2.8%. The ongoing retooling at several major auto assembly plants in Ontario continued to impact auto manufacturing and contributed to the lower sales of motor vehicles in March. The auto plant retooling also cooled auto exports, contributing to a 6.7% decline in exports of motor vehicles and parts in March, following two consecutive monthly gains. On a quarterly basis, sales of motor vehicles fell 4.1% in the first quarter of 2024.

Sales of machinery, however, were up 2.9% to $4.5 billion in March, following three consecutive monthly decreases. The gain was attributable to elevated sales in all seven machinery industry groups, led by commercial and service industry machinery (+41.6%). On a quarterly basis, sales of machinery edged up 0.5% in the first quarter of 2024.

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