March was the first month containing data on COVID-19 impactsClick image to enlargeStatistics Canada has offered up the first glimpse of the COVID-19’s economic impact on Canada’s manufacturing sector as the data agency released figures for the March Manufacturing Survey.

Inventory was up 0.1 per cent to $87.5 billion in March, increasing in 13 of 21 industries, led by the transportation equipment industry (+5.3 per cent). The inventory-to-sales ratio increased from 1.56 in February to 1.72 in March, mostly due to lower sales. 

This was the largest monthly increase in the inventory-to-sales ratio since December 2008. 

Unfilled orders decreased 0.4 per cent to $96.8 billion in March, mostly attributed to the transportation equipment (-0.9 per cent) and machinery (-3.5 per cent) industries. New orders fell 11.3 per cent to $50.4 billion in March, mostly reflecting lower new orders in the transportation equipment (-38.5 per cent) and the petroleum and coal product (-32.1 per cent) industries. 

The unadjusted capacity utilization rate for the manufacturing sector declined 3.6 percentage points to 72.8 per cent in March. This was 8.8 percentage points lower compared with March 2019.

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