OTTAWA -- Canada's factories rebounded strongly in November, hammering out a surprisingly strong 1.7 per cent gain that should add a floor to the expected soft economy at the end of last year.
Statistics Canada reported Friday that manufacturing sales increased to $49.9 billion, the highest level since May, after falling 1.2 per cent in October.
Manitoba was one of five provinces to post an increase in sales. Statistics Canada said shipments here rose 0.5 per cent to $1.31 billion from $1.30 billion in October. That was also a 1.3 per cent improvement from a year earlier, when Manitoba factories shipped $1.29 billion worth of goods.
Nationally, sales rose in 12 of 21 sectors, with the largest gains coming in the auto, aerospace, primary metal and chemical industries.
"This is a very solid Canadian manufacturing print, but the volatility in this reading may result in skeptics perhaps dismissing it, even as the underlying details are supportive," Scotiabank economists Derek Holt and Dov Zigler said in a note to clients.
The skepticism may have contributed to the negative reaction of the Canadian dollar, which fell 0.74 of a cent to 100.71 cents US in morning trading, they added.
In a recent report, the McDonald Laurier Institute predicted a relatively rosy picture for Canada's manufacturing sector, and noted the industry has fared better since the 2008-09 recession than many assume.
The report said manufacturing output had expanded 12.2 per cent from the second quarter of 2009 to the third quarter of 2012, the third-fastest growth of any major sector in the economy.
But along with exports, manufactured shipments were hammered in the second half of 2012 by the marked slowdown in the global economy, the recession in Europe and the combination of weak U.S. demand and a strong Canadian dollar.
-- The Canadian Press