Sales fell in 17 of 21 industries, led by the transportation equipment and petroleum and coal product industries, in a May 14, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Manufacturing sales fell 9.2% in March as factories closed due to the pandemic

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada reports manufacturing sales plunged 9.2 per cent to $50.8 billion in March as factories shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic or faced sharply lower demand.

The agency says it was the biggest percentage drop since December 2008 when the economy was gripped by the financial crisis.

Statistics Canada also noted it was the lowest level for manufacturing sales since June 2016, but that given the ongoing crisis the decline in sales is expected to continue into April.

Sales fell in 17 of 21 industries, led by the transportation equipment and petroleum and coal product industries. However, sales were up in food, paper, as well as the beverage and tobacco industries.

Excluding motor vehicles, parts and accessories, manufacturing sales were down 5.5 per cent.

In volumes terms, manufacturing sales fell 8.3 per cent.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2020.

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