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Canadian manufacturing business conditions deteriorated for the first time since data collection began in October 2010, according to the Royal Bank of Canada’s Canadian manufacturing purchasing managers’ index released today. March’s reading of 49.3, down from 51.7 in February, is the first sub-50 reading in the survey’s two-and-a-half-year history. The RBC PMI is a monthly survey conducted in association with Markit, a financial information services company, and the Purchasing Management Association of Canada.
“The Canadian manufacturing sector took a turn for the worse in March, seeing a deterioration in overall operating conditions for the first time in the survey's two-and-a-half year history,” said Cheryl Paradowski, president and CEO of the Purchasing Management Association of Canada. “Highlighting weak demand both domestically and in key export markets, manufacturers reported month-over-month declines in output and new orders in March, and they responded by scaling back hiring.”
Employment in Canada's manufacturing sector continued to increase in March, but the rate of growth eased since hitting a four-month high in February. Approximately 14 percent of firms hired additional staff in the latest survey period, while 10 percent reduced their workforces. Job losses were reported in Alberta and British Columbia, while employment growth was recorded elsewhere.
The RBC PMI is based on data compiled from monthly replies to questionnaires sent to purchasing executives in over 400 industrial companies.