Canada's economy returned to growth in January, with GDP expanding by 0.2 per cent during the month, a turnaround after a decline of the same amount in December.

Statistics Canada said Thursday that manufacturing, mining and the oil and gas industry all expanded, while the agriculture forestry and construction sectors shrank.

The finance and insurance sector also contracted.

All in all, output from goods-producing industries expanded by 0.4 per cent, while the service sector expanded by 0.2 per cent.

Those numbers suggest Canada's economy could be expanding at roughly a 1.5 per cent annualized pace this quarter. That's slightly slower than what the Bank of Canada is expecting — two per cent growth in GDP this year followed by 2.7 per cent growth next year. Both those estimates are more optimistic than what most private sector economists are looking for. 

Manufacturing output expanded 1.2 per cent in January, following a 1.9 per cent decline in December. Mining and oil and gas expanded by a slight 0.2 per cent, the fourth consecutive monthly gain.

TD Bank economist Sonya Gulati said despite the better than expected results for January it was too soon to celebrate the economic recovery.

"Manufacturing was a particular area of strength, but this comes after several months of disappointments," Gulati said.

While not a large part of Canada's economy, the arts and entertainment industry rebounded by an impressive 4.1 per cent in January from December's level. That was almost entirely due to the end of the NHL lockout, the data agency said.

With files from The Canadian Press