Canadian industries operated at 85.0% of their production capacity in the second quarter of 2017, up from 83.2% in the previous quarter. This reflected the very strong growth in economy-wide production. This was the second straight quarter where the industrial capacity utilization rate exceeded the historical average of 83.1%.
The mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction sector was the main source of the increase.
Oil and gas extraction is the main source of the increase
Following two consecutive quarters of declines, the capacity utilization rate in oil and gas extraction rose 3.3 percentage points to 84.0% in the second quarter, due to higher volumes of oil and gas extraction.
The capacity utilization rate in construction posted a third consecutive quarterly increase, rising from 86.4% to 87.7%. As in the previous quarter, the increase was mainly due to residential construction, and to engineering and repair work.
The capacity utilization rate in forestry and logging fell from 86.8% to 85.7% in the second quarter, a third consecutive quarterly decline. This decrease was attributable to a decline in activities in the industry.
Increases in the manufacturing sector are attributable to durable goods manufacturing
The manufacturing industry operated at 84.2% of its capacity, up 0.7 percentage points from the previous quarter. Durable goods manufacturing industries were the main source of this increase.
The capacity utilization rate rose in 15 of 21 major manufacturing industries, representing approximately 85% of the gross domestic product in the manufacturing industry.
The capacity utilization rate in the machinery manufacturing industry rose 5.1 percentage points to 85.3% in the second quarter, the largest gain since the fourth quarter of 2011. This increase was attributable to an overall gain in production in the industry.
The rate for transportation equipment manufacturers rose from 86.7% to 87.8%, due to increased production in most industry subsectors.
After declining in the first quarter, the capacity utilization rate for computer and electronic product manufacturers rose 4.4 percentage points to 86.8% in the second quarter. A widespread increase in production in all computer and electronic product manufacturing subsectors led to this gain.
The overall increase in the manufacturing sector was partially offset by declines in a few industries, notably in beverage and tobacco product manufacturing. This industry saw its capacity utilization rate fall from 87.0% to 82.2%, reflecting lower production.
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