OTTAWA — Manufacturing sales increased 4.5 per cent to $47.7 billion in January, the highest level since October 2008.
Statistics Canada reports that, while the gains were widespread through 17 of 21 industries, the increase was mostly concentrated in the transportation equipment sector.
The total sales increase was the largest since July 2009, when they rose 5.3 per cent.
Constant-dollar manufacturing sales rose 5.5 per cent in January.
Manufacturing sales of motor vehicles rose 26 per cent to $4.1 billion in January.
Production in the aerospace product and parts industry was up 25.2 per cent to $1.3 billion.
Sales advanced 6.7 per cent in the machinery industry to $2.6 billion, based largely on higher sales of agricultural, mining and construction machinery, as well as increased sales by engine, turbine and power transmission equipment manufacturers.
Sales were up 2.2 per cent in the food industry to $7.1 billion, partly a reflection of a 0.3 per cent rise in food prices.
Higher manufacturing sales were reported by four provinces in January — Ontario (up 5.8 per cent to $21.9 billion), Quebec (7.4), British Columbia (3.2) and New Brunswick (3.8) — together representing 81 per cent of total manufacturing.
Sales fell 4.2 per cent in Manitoba to $1.2 billion.
Inventories held by manufacturers rose 1.2 per cent in January to $61.5 billion. Unfilled orders rose 1.6 per cent to $52.3 billion. New orders increased 8.6 per cent to $48.5 billion.