Over the past few years this province’s manufacturing sector has been one of the brighter lights, often filling the gap left by declining commodity prices which slowed activity in the oil patch and potash production.
But more recently the industry has been navigating some turbulent waters, largely because of challenges in the agriculture sector which impacted our short line manufacturers. US farmers have been sitting on their hands in response to trade battles and weather conditions that left a big chunk of the Midwest unseeded. The story wasn’t much better in Canada as grain prices have been softening and Mother Nature has not been the most co-operative. This year we had just about everything: drought followed by drowning and hail pretty much everyday in some part of the Prairies.
However, contained in the latest manufacturing numbers are some signs of life.
For the second month in a row, total sales went up. We’re still a long way behind where we were at this time a year ago. August was seven percent ahead of July but still showing a seven percent decline for the year.