Canada’s real gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 1.1% month over month in February, thanks in large part to growth in 16 of 20 industrial sectors, Statistics Canada reported.
The country’s real estate, rental and leasing sector grew marginally in February, expanding by 0.4%, with real estate agents’ and brokers’ offices contributing 2.5% thanks to hot residential markets in Ontario and the Prairies. Legal services derived from real estate activity also increased by 1.2%.
Canada’s finance and insurance sector rose by 0.4% in February for a ninth consecutive month, as the country’s rising interest rate environment catalyzed a lot of frantic activity from investors. Homebuyers rushing to lock in favourable mortgage rates led the way with 0.5% growth.
Canada’s construction sector rose by 2.7% in February, with residential building increasing by 3.7%, which was driven by Canadians’ investments in home renovations new construction on multi-residential dwellings. Although construction activity dipped in December for the holidays, January bounced was also a growth month, StatCan said.
The non-residential sector expanded too in February, albeit only by 1.4%, but it still represented the eight straight month of growth, with building retrofits contributing in an outsized role. The industrial sector, which is the hottest segment of Canada’s real estate market, reported a lot of new construction for manufacturing and maintenance facilities in Ontario and Quebec.
February’s GDP growth marked the ninth straight month of growth, StatCan said -- it also anticipates that real GDP growth for in March was 0.5% -- adding that the services-producing sector saw a 0.9% increase from January, while goods-producing industries saw a 1.5% boost.
The Omicron variant of COVID-19 interrupted return-to-office plans for many companies in client-facing industries, but those have nevertheless resumed.
The accommodation and food services sector of the economy recorded a healthy February, with its portion of the GDP rising by 15.1% following two months of declines. Food services and drinking establishments also saw their GDP increase by 17.6%, offsetting declines in December and January that were caused by Omircon-induced shutdowns.
GDP activity in the accommodation sector of Canada’s economy, also following consecutive months of decreases, recorded 8.8% growth in February, as the volume of domestic and international flights grew.
The transportation and warehousing sector’s GDP grew by 3.1% in February from a month prior, although the couriers subsector recorded a 1.9% drop. Yet, rail transportation had its best monthly increase since May 2014, rising by 9.1% from January. StatCan noted that unusually cold weather and flooding in British Columbia contributed to the sector’s deceleration late last year through this past January.
Signalling that office sectors in Canada’s major cities are rebounding, urban transit systems’ GDP surged by 23.9% in February, which, again, offset declines in December and January caused by the Omicron wave. Air transportation recorded growth the tenth time in 11 months, rising by 7.7% in February, while transportation support activities saw a modest boost of 2.9% as activity rail, water and air all had increased activity.