indicatorThe Owl

Manufacturing sales started growing again in May

Sales were still down by 25 per cent compared to February 2020 and by 32 per cent compared to the year before

By ATB Economics 16 July 2020 1 min read

Alberta’s manufacturing sector began the climb back to where it was before the pandemic with seasonally adjusted sales up by 3 per cent ($119 million) in May compared to April.

Sales were still down by 25 per cent ($1.5 billion) compared to February 2020 and by 32 per cent ($2.3 billion) compared to the year before.

Alberta’s factories went into the pandemic on their back foot with annual sales in 2019 down by 0.7 per cent ($567 million).

Seasonally adjusted shipments from Alberta’s oil refineries edged up in May by 0.3 per cent ($2 million), but were 63 per cent ($1 billion) below February’s level.

Petroleum manufacturing typically accounts for about a quarter of manufacturing sales, but reduced demand and lower prices saw its share shrink to about 13 per cent in May.

Most, but not all, subsectors saw an uptick in sales in May. The subsectors that lost ground include non-metallic mineral products (-0.2 per cent), food products (-0.4 per cent), printing (-3 per cent), machinery (-6 per cent), paper (-11 per cent) and transportation equipment (-12 per cent).

The plastics and rubber products subsector posted the largest monthly gain in percentage terms (26 per cent) while the largest gain in absolute terms was in chemical manufacturing ($63 million).

Only one subsector—paper—had higher sales in May than in February.

Please note: The Owl will be going on vacation for two weeks starting on Monday, July 20 and returning Tuesday, August 4.

Manufacturing ales were up in Alberta by 3 per cent ($119 million) in May compared to April

Sales were up by 3 per cent ($119 million) in May compared to April


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