The largest gains were in administrative services and construction, while the biggest decline was in real estate: StatsCan

Mario ToneguzziLabour productivity of Canadian businesses fell 0.3 per cent in the first quarter, following a 0.2 per cent increase in the fourth quarter of 2017, says Statistics Canada.

“In the first quarter, business output decelerated from the previous quarter, while the pace of growth in hours worked accelerated and surpassed output growth,” said the federal agency in a report released on Tuesday.

It said growth in the real gross domestic product of businesses slowed to 0.2 per cent, after increasing 0.4 per cent in the previous quarter.

“The growth in output in the first quarter was mainly moderated by the slowdown in service-producing businesses (+0.2 per cent) due to decreases in real estate and retail trade. However, production growth of goods-producing businesses (+0.6 per cent) continued at a similar pace as in the previous quarter,” it explained.

“Real GDP growth in the first quarter was accompanied by a 0.5 per cent increase in hours worked, following a 0.2 per cent gain the previous quarter. Hours worked rose in both goods-producing (+1.1 per cent) and service-producing (+0.3 per cent) businesses, as 11 of 16 major industry sectors increased. The largest gains were in administrative services (+1.7 per cent) and construction (+1.5 per cent), while the biggest decline was in real estate (-2.0 per cent). Hours worked in utilities and arts and entertainment were essentially unchanged.”

Respected business writer Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.

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