Canadian manufacturing sales rose for the third consecutive month, edging up 0.4 per cent in March. Sales were higher in 11 of 21 manufacturing sub-sectors.
In BC, manufacturing sales fell 0.6 per cent on a monthly basis, but were 0.6 per cent higher than March 2013. Through the first quarter of the year, manufacturing sales are 3.1 per cent higher than the first quarter last year. The durable goods sector, which includes wood products, mineral products and machinery and equipment manufacturing, continued to be a drag on manufacturing output as previous sources of strength such as wood products have struggled to start the year. Non-durable goods like paper, clothing, and food manufacturing, were also lower in March, but have posted a 9 per cent gain in the first quarter when compared to 2013.
The manufacturing sector employs approximately 170 thousand people in British Columbia, or roughly 7.5 per cent of the BC workforce. Therefore, growth in manufacturing output should help spur job growth which would support the BC housing market, particularly in regions with a high concentration of manufacturing activity.