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April marked by record growth, 'cautious optimism' for Saskatchewan manufacturers

Published by CME Staff on June 19, 2014

Saskatchewan manufacturing sales were up 8.4 per cent year-over-year in April — including 6.6 per cent from March — to more than $1.4 billion, according to the latest data released from Statistics Canada.

Through the first four months of 2014, shipments have grown by 10.4 per cent year-over-year, driven by spikes in both durable and non-durable goods, which jumped seven and 12.2 per cent, respectively, over the same timeframe. Durable goods — such as machinery and equipment, as well as fabricated metal products — account for one-third of total production, while non-durable goods — such as food and chemical products — make up the remaining two-thirds.

Manufacturing employment in April was also up more than 13.5 per cent from the mark set one year ago.

“Without question, we’re off to a better start in 2014 than our previous record-year set in 2013, in terms of overall performance,” explains Derek Lothian, vice president with Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) and executive director of the Saskatchewan Manufacturing Council. “But we’re also starting to see some tapering off as we transition into the second quarter, especially in commodity-driven supply chains. So while there is good reason for optimism, it needs to be cautious optimism.” 

By comparison, cumulative Canadian manufacturing sales edged down 0.1 per cent in April, while inventories trended upwards for fourth consecutive month, at 1.1 per cent. 

“Maintaining a softened dollar and continued growth in the US economy are two indicators that Saskatchewan manufacturers will be looking closely at through the summer,” says Lothian. “Last year, folks were thinking an at-par Loonie may be here to stay and that the US recovery may be in jeopardy. That hasn’t been the case thus far, and in a market like Saskatchewan so significantly powered by exports, it’s not a reality manufacturers would like to slip back into.”

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