indicatorThe Owl

Manufacturing activity upbeat to end the year

Annual sales in Alberta were up $19.8 billion (+31%) in 2021

By Siddhartha Bhattacharya, ATB Economics 17 February 2022 1 min read

Factory sales in Alberta finished 2021 on a good note. After rising in October and November, the value of seasonally adjusted manufacturing shipments was up by $135.8 million (+2%) to $7.7 billion in December.

The increase was driven by back-to-back monthly gains in refined petroleum and wood products and an uptick in chemical manufacturing. Meanwhile, food manufacturing took a breather, but remained close to its record high.

On an unadjusted basis, Alberta’s manufacturing shipments totalled $84.5 billion for all of 2021. This was up $19.8 billion (+31%) from 2020 and $8.4 billion (+11%) higher than its 2019 level. With this big increase, Alberta ranked third (after New Brunswick and Saskatchewan) in the country in terms of percentage growth and contributed 18% toward the national increase in 2021.

Industrial prices for manufactured goods rose 14% in Canada last year and were responsible for close to half of Alberta’s total annual gain, with prices of petroleum and coal products and wood products up by over 40% during the same timeframe.

National manufacturing shipments stood at $718.7 billion in 2021, up $107.5 billion (+18%) from the 2020 level. Nearly every sub-sector contributed to the gains with sales of refined petroleum, primary metals and wood products driving 57% of the total increase.

Manufacturing makes a significant contribution to Alberta’s economy. On average, real value added from the industry was roughly $24 billion (or 7.5% of Alberta’s real GDP) annually between 2016 and 2020. Despite being one of the industries where jobs are yet to surpass their pre-pandemic level, the sector employed just over 5% of the province’s total workforce last year.

Given the strong increases in shipments and export activity, we can expect manufacturing to be a major contributor to provincial economic growth in 2022.

Answer to the previous trivia question: According to UKBullion, the first gold coins appeared around 700 BCE.

Today’s trivia question: When and where did the first large-scale production of automobiles in Canada begin?

Alberta’s manufacturing shipments totalled $84.5 billion in 2021

Alberta’s manufacturing shipments totalled $84.5 billion in 2021

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