New orders and inventories began declining in late 2022, data from Statistics Canada shows.
Manufacturing sales were flat in November at $72.3 billion, the agency found, as higher sales of durable goods were offset by a decline in non-durable sales.
Stronger auto sales (up by 12.7%) led the increase in durable goods activity, while lower sales in the chemical and petroleum product sectors largely cancelled out those gains.
Sales volumes edged up by just 0.1% in November, StatsCan said, and the Industrial Product Price Index declined by 0.4% in the month.
Against this backdrop, total inventory levels declined by 0.5% to $121.6 billion, the first monthly decrease since December 2020.
Additionally, the total value of unfilled orders and the value of new orders also both declined for the second consecutive month, the agency reported.
StatsCan noted that the capacity utilization rate for the manufacturing sector increased in November, rising to 78.6% from 77.9% in October.