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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email:

July 15, 2020



"In May 2020, four-fifths (80.9%) of establishments in the manufacturing sector reported that their activities were impacted by COVID-19.

Industries reported operating at limited capacity because of lower orders from regular customers as many retail stores remained closed. Manufacturers in:

  • miscellaneous (92.6%),
  • printing and related product (91.6%),
  • clothing (90.4%)
  • furniture and related product (89.6%),
  • leather and allied (89.0%), and
  • textile mills (88.7%).

One-quarter (24.3%) of establishments reported that they have a recovery plan in place." Statistics Canada

In  Nova Scotia May 2020, seasonally adjusted Manufacturing Shipments decreased 1.7% to $659.7 million  over April 2020 and decreased 21.9% over May 2019. Non-durable shipments have  increased 4.2 percent to $445.9 million  in May 2020. Durable shipments have  decreased 22.0 percent to $213.9 million from May 2019.

In  Canada May 2020, seasonally adjusted Manufacturing Shipments increased 10.7% to $40.2 billion  over April 2020 and decreased 31.6% over May 2019. Compared to April 2020, overall sales increased in 18 of 21 industries representing  88.0% of all manufacturing sectors. Durable goods increased 18.9% to $18.8 billion  over Apr 2020 and decreased 39.0% over May 2019. Non-durable goods increased 4.4% to $21.4 billion  over Apr 2020 and decreased 23.3% over May 2019.


Inventory to sales ratio  decreased to 2.15 in May 2020. Unfilled orders decreased  -2.4% to $95.4 billion. The inventory to sales ratio was 1.56 in February 2020.  New orders increased 9.4% to $37.8 billion over April 2020. 



On a seasonally adjusted, month-over-month basis, Manufacturing sales increased in 8 provinces in May 2020 over April 2020. Ontario had the largest growth at 17.5%; Prince Edward Island shipment  growth decreased 6.7%; Nova Scotia shipments decreased 1.7%. In Canada shipments increased 10.7%.

On a seasonally adjusted year-over-year basis, Manufacturing sales were down in all provinces comparing May 2020 withMay 2019. Manitoba had the least decline at -11.4%. Newfoundland and Labrador shipment  growth decreased 69.2%. Nova Scotia shipments decreased 21.9%. Total Canadian manufacturing shipments decreased 31.6%.



Nova Scotia manufacturing shipments declined in May 2020 for both durable  (i.e. wood products, metal products, machinery, transportation equipment) and  non-durable (i.e. food, paper/pulp, chemical, plastic and rubber) shipments.


Unadjusted Year-over-year

Unadjusted Year-over-year (May 2020 vs May 2019), Manufacturing Shipments decreased 22.5% ($207.1 million).

  • Non-durable goods shipments, accounting for 69% of Manufacturing Shipments , decreased 22.6% ($143.5 million).
  • Food manufacturing with a 36% of Manufacturing Shipments , decreased 11.3% ($33.2 million).
  • Plastics & rubber products  with a 16% of Manufacturing Shipments , decreased 39.8% ($76.5 million).
  • Other non-durables with a 16% of Manufacturing Shipments , decreased 22.5% ($33.9 million).
  • Durable goods industries with a 31% of Manufacturing Shipments , decreased 22.2% ($63.6 million).
  • Wood product manufacturing  with a 5% of Manufacturing Shipments , increased 7.8% ($2.7 million).
  • Fabricated metal Prod with a 4% of Manufacturing Shipments , decreased 11.0% ($3.5 million).
  • Machinery manufacturing with a 2% of Manufacturing Shipments , decreased 47.4% ($11.2 million).
  • Other durables with a 20% of Manufacturing Shipments , decreased 26.2% ($51.6 million).





In Halifax, year-over-year, unadjusted manufacturing shipments have declined 23.8 per cent to $192.4 million over May 2019.

  • Non-durable shipments have declined 25.1 per cent to $72.0 million.
  • Durable shipments have declined 22.9 per cent to $120.4 million. 



In the rest of Nova Scotia, year-over-year, unadjusted manufacturing shipments have declined 22.0 per cent to $522.5 million.

  • Non-durable shipments have lined 22.1% to $419.9 million. 
  • Durable shipments have eclined 21.3% to $102.6 million. 



During the COVID-19 pandemic, comparisons of year-to-date averages and sums do not show Nova Scotia’s rapidly changing economic situation.  The DailyStats will focus on year-over-year comparisons, comparing one month with the same month in the prior year.  Where possible the DailyStats will make comparisons of seasonally adjusted data from the pre-COVID-19 period (January  and February 2020) with the period during which COVID-19 measures were in place from March 2020 onwards.



Statistics Canada Monthly survey of Manufacturing

Statistics Canada.  Table  16-10-0047-01   Manufacturers' sales, inventories, orders and inventory to sales ratios, by industry (dollars unless otherwise noted)

Statistics Canada.  Table  16-10-0048-01   Manufacturing sales by industry and province, monthly (dollars unless otherwise noted) (x 1,000)

Statistics Canada.  Table 16-10-0011-01    Manufacturing sales, by industry for 12 Selected Census Metropolitan Areas (x 1,000)



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