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Canadian GDP growth hits 3.1% in first quarter, slower than expected

Canadian GDP growth hits 3.1% in first quarter, slower than expected

OTTAWA—The economy grew at an annualized rate of 3.1 per cent in the first quarter, helped by business investment and household spending, Statistics Canada said recently.

The result was down from an annualized rate of 6.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Statistics Canada said the change came as export volumes dropped 2.4 per cent for the quarter, following two consecutive quarterly increases.

Meanwhile, the agency said household spending rose 0.8 per cent in the first quarter, to mark a third consecutive quarterly increase.

Spending on durable goods gained 2.6 per cent in the first quarter, helped by a 16.1 per cent increase in spending on new passenger cars and a 3.5 per cent gain for new trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles.

However, Statistics Canada noted that despite the increases, spending on automobiles remained lower than pre-pandemic levels, as supply chain issues continued to hurt the auto sector.

Residential construction gained 4.3 per cent as spending on renovations rose 9.3 per cent, resale costs gained 4.6 per cent and new construction rose 0.2 per cent.

Business investment in non-residential structures rose 2.9 per cent and in machinery and equipment gained 0.9 per cent in the quarter, while spending on engineering structures rose 3.5 per cent.

Statistics Canada also said compensation of employees rose 3.8 per cent on a nominal basis for the quarter. Excluding the third quarter of 2020, it said it was the largest quarterly increase since the second quarter of 1981.

The agency said significant wage growth was seen across the economy, including in professional and personal services, trade, manufacturing, health care and social assistance and construction industries.

The overall growth for the first quarter came as the economy grew 0.7 per cent in March.

Statistics Canada said its preliminary reading for April indicates the economy grew 0.2 per cent for the month, but cautioned the figure would be revised when it releases its official figure on June 30.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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