COVID-19 saps manufacturing in April
Canada’s factories were operating at just 55.9 per cent of their capacity in April
By ATB Economics 15 June 2020 1 min read
A combination of reduced demand, lower gasoline prices, physical distancing measures and factory closures pushed down Alberta’s monthly manufacturing sales by 19.6 per cent ($1.1 billion) in April. (All figures are seasonally adjusted.)
This follows a 7.0 per cent drop in March and adds up to a 25.2 per cent contraction compared to February. (COVID-19 was classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11.)
Alberta’s largest manufacturing subsector—oil refining—experienced the largest drop, with sales falling by $1.0 billion (61.8 per cent) between February and April. Low prices worked together with reduced demand for gasoline to cause the contraction.
Food manufacturing is the second largest subsector in Alberta; its sales contracted by 6.6 per cent ($86 million) between February and April.
The only subsector to post increased sales during the period was paper manufacturing, with sales rising by 26.3 per cent ($40 million).
Nationally, manufacturing sales fell by 28.5 per cent in April for a total drop of 35.5 per cent since February.
With COVID-19 restrictions starting to loosen in May, April’s figures should represent the low point for manufacturing sales.