Manufacturing shipments steady after April drop

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OTTAWA, Ont. — After a slight decrease in April, manufacturing shipments remained virtually unchanged in May with a slight decrease of 0.1% at $49.7 billion.

Manufacturing shipments had trended slowly downwards throughout most of 2006, before posting a strong first quarter in 2007, according to a report released by Statistics Canada.

Manufacturers continued to face several challenges during May. The Canadian dollar appreciated significantly against its American counterpart, reaching a 30-year high by the end of May. In addition, the Labour Force Survey reported a 0.6% drop in manufacturing employment during the month, a loss of 12,300 jobs.

Despite these challenges, the volume of manufacturing shipments, using constant dollars, rose 0.4% to $45.5 billion. After increasing in seven of the last eight months, constant dollar shipments reached their highest level since the beginning of 2006.

On a sector by sector basis, only 9 of 21 manufacturing industries decreased in May, but they represented about 57% of total shipment outputs.

Durable goods were the main source of weakness in May, declining 1.2% to $26.7 billion, following a sharper loss of 2% the previous month. Among durable goods producers, primary metal manufacturers posted one of the most significant declines during the month.

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