Canadian Manufacturing’s Steepest Tumble on Record

For the fifth straight month, in what is the worst time for the energy and automotive sectors, with worse to come, Canadian manufacturers' sales have taken their steepest tumble in 17-years.

Benoit Durocher, and economist with the Desjardins Group comments: 'The bad news just keeps on coming for Canada 's economy, with another record decline being beaten'.

According to Statistics Canada, December saw large shifts in international investment, as Canadians pulled $6.4-billion worth of foreign securities from abroad, a reflection of global instability, as they returned funds to the Canadian economy, even while, foreigners rid their holdings of an 'unprecedented' $2.8-billion of Canadian bonds.

December also saw a tally of 129,000 jobs lost, pushing unemployment to a four-year high of 7.2%, a rate one anticipates will swell, causing Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president of the Business Council of British Columbia to say: 'This is going to be a nasty recession. It's not going to be shallow or short. It looks like it's going to be deep. The only question is how protracted it is going to be.'

Neither does Finance Minister Jim Flaherty expect things to improve any time soon, as he told a meeting of Group of Seven finance ministers in Rome over the weekend, he expects 'numbers of all kinds to continue getting worse month after month this year'.

While it is not yet official, the Canadian economy likely entered a recession in the final three months of last year, with no region in Canada insulated from weakening demand caused by the year-old U. S. recession.

'It's coast-to-coast,' says economist Marc Pinsonneault of National Bank Financial. 'This reveals how the U. S. recession, and the global economy, is taking its toll on Canadian manufacturing.' However, he does believe a recovery should emerge in the second half of the year, around the same time he expects the long U. S. recession to end.