Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales fell 3.1 per cent in December to $48 billion, the largest decline since May 2009 and worse than expected.

It says about half of the decrease reflected lower sales in the transportation equipment industry, while sales were also down in the chemical, petroleum and coal product as well as the fabricated metal product industries.

The agency says sales fell in 16 of 21 industries, representing 82 per cent of the manufacturing sector.

Sales of durable goods sales were down 4.2 per cent while non-durable goods sales declined 2.0 per cent.

Constant dollar sales decreased 3.8 per cent, indicating that the decline in manufactured goods sold was a result of lower volumes.

More than two-thirds of the decline in manufacturing sales was concentrated in Ontario, although six provinces posted lower sales in December