OTTAWA - Canada's economy continues to defy adverse global conditions and the guarded expectations of experts, posting a 0.2 per cent advance in July that got the third quarter off to an encouraging start.

The expansion was double consensus estimates — some economists had thought a negative number was possible — although the shine was dulled somewhat by a downward revision for June to 0.1 per cent from 0.2.

Still, analysts said any expansion in the economy, given global economic troubles and Canada's weak export performance for the month, was cause for relief.

"The fear factor of a decline, given an abundance of weak indicators for the month, was avoided," said Derek Holt, vice-president of economics for Scotia Capital.

Holt said the third quarter is still expected to be weak, with Scotiabank tracking a one per cent annualized pace. That is half the rate the Bank of Canada predicted in July.

On an annual basis, output was up 1.9 per cent, "consistent with an economy that is still struggling to crack the two per cent growth mark," noted Bank of Montreal's Robert Kavcic.

The most obvious weakness in the month was in the exports sector. Statistics Canada has already reported a $2.3-billion trade deficit for the month, the biggest in nominal terms in history.

But overall, the goods producing sector of the economy had a good month, advancing by 0.2 per cent.

Manufacturing was surprisingly strong at plus 0.6 per cent, and wholesale trade grew by 0.2 per cent. Mining, oil and gas extraction and construction all declined, however.

The output of service industries also rose 0.2 per cent, mainly due to higher retail sales and increases in the finance and insurance sector as well as accommodation and food services.

The public sector — education, health and public administration combined — was essentially unchanged.

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  • WORST: Administrative & support - 6

    Number of job seekers for every available job. Source: StatsCan

  • Manufacturing - 4.3

    Number of job seekers for every available job. Source: StatsCan

  • Education - 4.3

    Number of job seekers for every available job. Source: StatsCan

  • Construction - 3.9

    Number of job seekers for every available job. Source: StatsCan

  • Retail trade - 3.4

    Number of job seekers for every available job. Source: StatsCan

  • Professional, scientific & technical - 3.2

    Number of job seekers for every available job. Source: StatsCan

  • Accommodation and food services - 3

    Number of job seekers for every available job. Source: StatsCan

  • Wholesale trade - 2

    Number of job seekers for every available job. Source: StatsCan

  • BEST: Health care, social assistance - 1.4

    Number of job seekers for every available job. Source: StatsCan


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  • Canada's 10 Fastest Growing Cities

    Percentages show population growth from 2006 census to 2011 census. Source: Canada 2011 Census

  • 10: Lloydminster, SK - 14%

    A view of the Husky Energy upgrader facility inLloydminster, Saskatchewan where bitumen and heavy oil are converted to synthetic oil. (The Canadian Press Images/Bayne Stanley)

  • 9: Squamish, BC - 14.6%

    Photo: YouTube screencap

  • 8: Cold Lake, AB - 15.4%

    Photo: City of Cold Lake

  • 7: Grande Prairie, AB - 16.8%

    Photo: Kathy Dempsey/Flickr

  • 6: Sylvan Lake, AB - 19.2%

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

  • 5: Strathmore, AB - 19.7%

    Photo: City of Strathmore

  • 4: High River, AB - 20.6%

    Photo: City of High River Prairie grain elevator and grain storage bins near High River, Alberta with the Rocky Mountains visible in the distance. THE CANADIAN PRESS

  • 3: Steinbach, MB - 22.2%

    Photo: City of Steinbach

  • 2: Fort McMurray (Wood Buffalo), AB - 27.1%

    This Sept. 19, 2011 aerial photo shows a tar sands mine facility near Fort McMurray, in Alberta, Canada. (The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)

  • 1: Okotoks, AB - 42.9%

    Photo: Xz1303, Wikimedia Commons