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In the right direction

Shipments bounce back in February

By Siddhartha Bhattacharya, ATB Economics 17 April 2024 1 min read

After a slow start to the year, Alberta’s factory revenues rebounded in February.

According to new Statistics Canada data, the value of seasonally-adjusted manufacturing shipments in Alberta grew by 4.1% to reach $8.8 billion in February, more than reversing January’s decline. 

To recap, the value of shipments edged down by 4.1% in 2023, but still came in at their second highest annual level on record. 

Last year’s pullback was largely price-related. Lower prices of refined petroleum, chemicals and wood products pulled revenues down in these sub-sectors. Food and machinery manufacturing remained bright spots in 2023, seeing the largest gains.

Manufacturing shipments have come off their mid 2023 lows, but are still below the elevated levels from mid 2022. So far this year, Alberta’s factory revenues are down 6.3% compared to the same time last year on lower prices.

Nationally, revenues eased 2.2% year-to-date with declines experienced in eight out of ten provinces.

In the labour market, manufacturing employment has been on the rise in Alberta building off an impressive 10.9% increase in 2023. Jobs in the sector were up by 1.6% in the first quarter, relative to the same point in 2023.

Looking ahead, employment (initially in construction and later on the manufacturing side) will get a boost from projects like Dow’s first ever net-zero ethylene derivatives facility, which begins construction this year in Fort Saskatchewan. Factory revenues will continue to ebb and flow under a volatile commodity price environment, but trend higher as new manufacturing capacity is added in areas like food manufacturing and petrochemicals. 

Answer to the previous trivia question: German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck is credited with implementing the first “welfare state” beginning with the passage of the Health Insurance Law in 1883.

Today’s trivia question: Which co-founder of U.S. Steel was born on this day in 1837?

Broad-based increases pushed seasonally-adjusted manufacturing revenues in Alberta up by 4.1% in February

Broad-based increases pushed seasonally-adjusted manufacturing revenues in Alberta up by 4.1% in February

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