Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales rose 1.7 per cent to $49.5 billion in July — far better than analysts had expected, with Ontario showing the biggest monthly gain since mid-2012.
The federal agency says gains were recorded in 15 of 21 industries and six of Canada's provinces.
The agency says sales of durable goods rose 2.1 per cent to $24.8 billion. mostly due to higher sales in the miscellaneous manufacturing, fabricated metal product, and wood product industries.
Sales of non-durable goods were up 1.2 per cent to $24.6 billion, largely as a result of an increase in the petroleum and coal product industry.
Constant dollar manufacturing sales were up 1.1 per cent, indicating that most of the overall increase was volume-based.
The growth was strongest in Ontario, where manufacturing sales rose 3.2 per cent to $23.1 billion — the highest level for the province since June 2012. Alberta was also among the gaining provinces, with sales up 2.1 per cent to $6.3 billion.
Quebec was among the provinces that saw an overall decline, with total sales down 0.2 per cent to $11.2 billion, even though 14 of 21 industries posted gains.
"The gains were entirely offset by a 27.7 per cent drop in the transportation equipment industry. Lower production in the aerospace product and parts sub-industry was entirely responsible for this decline," Statistics Canada said.
It also noted that New Brunswick's sales dropped by 10.1 per cent to $1.5 billion, mostly due to lower manufacturer sales of non-durable goods.
CIBC World Markets economist Emanuella Enenajor says the July growth in overall Canadian manufacturing sales was more than triple general expectations.
"Sales in Ontario and Alberta were up notably, with the latter province's gains in wood and petroleum product sales likely attributable to the end of flooding-related transportation disruptions," Enenajor wrote in a commentary.