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May 22, 2015
Real GDP pulls back in February
•Real GDP by industry ticked down 0.1% in February after
rising the previous month. January’s figure was also revised
from 0.2% to 0.3%. For the first two months of the year, the
total annual increase is 1.3%.
•Electricity production drove growth by utilities, which made a
big contribution to real GDP growth. Without this sector, economic activity posted a -0.4% decline for February.
•Goods production fell 0.6% in February. Several sectors
contracted sharply, including construction and manufacturing.
•The service industry edged up, gaining a monthly 0.1%.
Retailing, finance and insurance, and business services posted the strongest growth.
The real GDP is struggling to post several gains in a row
In billions of 2007 dollars
% monthly change
Real GDP
Change (right)
Level (left)
Sources: Institut de la statistique du Québec and Desjardins, Economic Studies
We had expected the economy to tick down in February.
Although the retail sales figures Statistics Canada published
for the month had turned around, other data was down in
February, including manufacturing sales, exports and housing starts. The winter’s extraordinarily cold weather seems
to have slowed many industries, including construction.
On the other hand, it stimulated electricity production in
Contribution to real GDP growth in February
Public sector*
Services sector
Retail trade
Wholesale trade
Goods sector
Mining and oil
Agriculture and forestry
The harsh weather also sapped the U.S. economy in the first
quarter. There, real GDP posted a weak annualized 0.2%
increase. In Canada, the adverse impact of low oil prices
on the economies of oil-producing provinces worsened the
unfavourable context, which should limit real GDP growth
to an annualized 0.3%.
March looks fairly solid for Quebec’s economic growth,
however. Retail sales jumped 1.0%, while manufacturing
sales and exports went up of more than 6.0%.
Financial sector
Quebec. Overall, the carryover for real GDP is fairly slight
for the first quarter, at an annualized increase of 0.4%.
Implications: Despite February’s downtick, Quebec’s
annualized real GDP growth should be above 1% for the
first quarter. The rebound expected in North America for
the second quarter should make itself felt in Quebec, where
the pace should pick up to hit the 1.7% target for growth in
In %
Hélène Bégin
Senior Economist
* Education, healthcare and public administrations.
Sources: Institut de la statistique du Québec and Desjardins, Economic Studies
François Dupuis
Vice-President and Chief Economist
Hélène Bégin
Senior Economist
Benoit P. Durocher
Senior Economist
418-835-2450 or 1 866 835-8444, ext. 2450
E-mail: [email protected]
Francis Généreux
Senior Economist
Note to readers: The letters k, M and B are used in texts and tables to refer to thousands, millions and billions respectively.
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