Trucking growth outpaces economy in February thanks in part to rail strike

by Canadian Shipper

The strike by CN Rail employees in February led some companies to increase their use of trucking services to move their goods. The use of trucking services was up 0.6%, surpassing the 0.4% growth of the overall Canadian economic GDP growth for the month, Statistics Canada records reveal.

The strike led to a drop of 5.4% in output of the rail transportation industry.

Although the resumption of energy production to normal levels boosted economic output for the Canadian economy to 0.4% in February, if oil and gas extraction and utilities are removed, economic activity grew 0.2%.

Both goods and services production rose. Wholesale trade, manufacturing and financial services posted gains. However, these gains were partly offset by declines in construction, retail trade, rail transportation and the accommodation

The construction sector fell for the first time in eight months in February (-0.2%). A decline in residential construction (-1.4%) was only partially offset by gains in non-residential building construction (+1.0%) and engineering and repair work (+0.2%). Both single-family homes and apartments recorded declines, whereas activity increased on new industrial and commercial buildings.

Wholesale trade posted a healthy 1.0% gain in February. This increase was propelled by strong trade in computers and other electronic equipment, household and personal products, pharmaceuticals and petroleum products.

Retail trade slipped 0.7% in February. This decline was due to a slump in new car sales. Excluding new motor vehicle dealers, retail trade increased 0.1%.

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