The auto sector has so far held off the capacity issues plaguing other industriesClick image to enlargeThroughout the third quarter, there were many signs of a gradual resumption of activities in the manufacturing sector.

Despite a rebound in the overall capacity utilization rate for manufacturing, its value remained below the level posted in the third quarter of 2019, according to the latest report from Statistics Canada.

Year over year, the capacity utilization rate of manufacturing decreased three points to 75.3 per cent in the third quarter. Capacity utilization fell in 18 of the 21 major manufacturing industries, representing about three-quarters of the gross domestic product of the manufacturing sector.

However, the data agency says transportation equipment manufacturers’ capacity utilization edged up 0.6 percentage points to 79.6 per cent in the third quarter. Production at motor vehicle assembly plants resumed after being interrupted in the second quarter because of public health measures. Many auto manufacturers shortened or skipped their summer shutdowns this year. This increase coincided with higher exports of motor vehicles and parts and a gain in the gross domestic product of motor vehicle manufacturing.

Petroleum and coal product manufacturers saw their activities restart gradually in the third quarter, after posting a strong decrease in the previous quarter. This improvement coincided with higher crude oil prices and increased activity in refineries. Nevertheless, year over year, the capacity utilization rate dropped 7.9 percentage points to 76.7 per cent in the third quarter.

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