AB manufacturing sales see sudden decline

This is the first decrease in manufacturing sales since last September.

Last week, Statistics Canada released data on manufacturing sales, and I thought I’d take a look at how Alberta fared compared to the other provinces.

The sales data is only recent up to June 2022. As well, it covers the value of manufacturing sales, not the volume. That means that if the number is higher, it doesn’t mean that companies are selling more units. It’s possible that the prices of the units increased.

For example, if a company saw $1 million in manufacturing sales in May on 10,000 units, they were selling the units for $100 a piece.

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However, if they increased the price to $120 per unit but sold 10,000 units again in June, their total value of their manufacturing sales would’ve been $1.2 million.

That means their sales will have increased by $200,000 or 20%.

So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at manufacturing sales for the provinces in June 2022. These numbers are seasonally adjusted.


Alberta is in third place, preceded by Ontario and Québec and followed by British Columbia.

Interestingly, Toronto itself had large sales numbers than the entire province of Alberta in June 2022, having seen $11.755 billion. Montréal as a city had the second highest manufacturing sales, which came in under the total for all of Alberta: $8.050 billion.

Now, let’s look at how the provinces fare when comparing June’s numbers to those from May.

May 2022Jun 2022Change% change
in billions $

Here we see that Alberta had the 3rd largest decrease in manufacturing sales over the previous month, dropping by $174 million billion dollars.

They had the 5th largest decrease on a percentage basis, however. Their 1.84% decrease was surpassed all the Atlantic provinces. In fact, outside of Atlantic Canada, Alberta saw the largest decrease in manufacturing sales.

And now, here’s what the numbers look like compared to last year.

Jun 2021Jun 2022Change% change

On an absolute basis, Alberta saw the third largest increase in manufacturing sales. However, it was in second place (behind Manitoba) on a percentage-based increase.

Alberta’s manufacturing sales increased by $2.050 billion over the previous year, which was about 28.4% of June 2021’s numbers.

Now let’s look at the sales by industry. I left out any industries that didn’t report sales for June 2022, May 2022, or June 2021.

Petroleum and coal products$3.095
Fabricated metal products$0.550
Wood product$0.539
Plastics and rubber products$0.228
Non-metallic mineral products$0.189
Primary metal$0.177
Beverage and tobacco products$0.120
Computer and electronic products$0.088
Furniture and related products$0.065
Printing and related support activities$0.061
Electrical equipment, appliance and components$0.049
Transportation equipment$0.045
in billions $

The industry with the single highest value of manufacturing sales in June 2022 was “petroleum and coal products”. In fact, this industry accounted for 33.38% of all manufacturing sales that month. That means that petroleum and coal products accounted for $1 of every $3 in manufacturing sales.

However, it saw the largest month-over-month decrease:

May 2022Jun 2022Change% change
Fabricated metal$0.528$0.550$0.0213.99%
Plastics & rubber$0.218$0.228$0.0104.45%
Primary metal$0.172$0.177$0.0052.96%
Furniture & related$0.061$0.065$0.0058.03%
Computer & electronic$0.087$0.088$0.0011.31%
Printing & related support$0.059$0.061$0.0011.89%
Electrical equipment, appliance & components$0.049$0.049$0.0000.11%
Beverage & tobacco$0.127$0.120-$0.007-5.49%
Transportation equipment$0.062$0.045-$0.017-27.79%
Non-metallic mineral$0.212$0.189-$0.022-10.49%
Wood products$0.659$0.539-$0.120-18.19%
Petroleum & coal$3.283$3.095-$0.189-5.74%
in billions $

Petroleum and coal product sales decreased by nearly $190 million in June 2022. It came in fourth place for percentage based decreases, at 5.74%. It was surpassed by transportation equipment, wood products, and non-metallic mineral products.

6 manufacturing industries saw a decreased in month-over-month sales in April 2022

However, all but two sectors saw year-over-year increases.

Jun 2021Jun 2022Change% change
Petroleum & coal$1.576$3.095$1.51896.33%
Fabricated metal$0.406$0.550$0.14435.46%
Primary metal$0.102$0.177$0.07573.36%
Plastics & rubber$0.193$0.228$0.03417.66%
Computer & electronics$0.063$0.088$0.02539.81%
Beverage & tobacco$0.099$0.120$0.02121.77%
Electrical equipment, appliance & components$0.036$0.049$0.01335.93%
Printing & related support$0.048$0.061$0.01224.91%
Non-metallic mineral$0.180$0.189$0.0105.39%
Furniture & related$0.056$0.065$0.00916.19%
Transportation equipment$0.042$0.045$0.0025.56%
Wood products$0.784$0.539-$0.245-31.25%
in billions $

“Petroleum and coal products” came in first place once again. Not only that, but it was the only manufacturing sector to top $1 billion in additional sales, compared to June 2021. Its $1.518 billion difference was a 96.33% year-over-year increase.

Only “wood products” and “miscellaneous” saw a decrease over the last year.

Remember, this data is for sales value, not sales volume.

At the end of June 2021, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil was $73.47 a barrel. A year later, that price was up 40.33% to $103.10 a barrel.

Not only that, but several oil companies reported large corporate profits. For example, according to one NBC News article,

Major Western oil companies reported record profits in the second quarter alongside gas prices that have topped a national average of more than $5 a gallon.

ExxonMobil, Chevron and Shell posted a combined $46 billion in earnings for the second quarter, according to earnings statements from the three companies. Exxon reported $17.9 billion in earnings, Chevron said it earned $11.6 billion.

The London-based Shell said it earned $16.7 billion when the cost of supplies is factored in. Its adjusted earnings for the quarter, which exclude certain price changes and one-time expenses, was $11.5 billion.

Wile, Rob. “Oil company profits soar as B.C. pump prices hit record highs”, NBC News, 29 July 2022.

And higher global oil prices and higher corporate profits are going to affect the price that “petroleum and coal product” manufacturers sell their products for. That doesn’t even include inflation rates not seen in over 30 years.

Just because Alberta manufacturing companies are making more money off product sales, doesn’t mean these companies are producing more products, let alone hiring more workers.

But what about the drop in manufacturing sales seen in June?

This was actually the first time since last September that Alberta has seen a decrease in manufacturing sales.

At the end of May 2022, WTI closed at $111.90 a barrel. A month later, it had dropped to $103.10, after peaking at $117.15 early in the month.

Given that a third of manufacturing sales came from the fossil fuel sector, it shouldn’t be that surprising that we’d see a dip in the total value of manufacturing sales when the price of oil dips, too.

As well, oil prices have continued to drop in July and August (even dropping below $90 a barrel), so it’ll be interesting to see what manufacturing sales look like over the next couple of months.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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