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Manufacturing sales rose 1.5 per cent to $53.8-billion in September, led by the wood, chemical and food industries, Statistics Canada said Monday.

The increase followed a revised drop of 1.4 per cent in August compared with the 2-per-cent decrease that was initially reported.

The result for September matched the average expectations of economists surveyed by financial data firm Refinitiv.

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“There are many positives in September’s manufacturing sales report, including the return to positive sales growth, the broad-based increase across most provinces, and the encouraging forward-looking indicators,” TD Bank economist Omar Abdelrahman wrote in a report.

“However, like other economic data, the recovery in manufacturing activity is losing steam as the economy enters the ‘recuperation’ phase.”

Statscan said manufacturing sales in September were still 3.6 per cent below their prepandemic levels in February.

“As we note in a recent report, the sector is being held back by business-oriented industries, as elevated uncertainty weighs on investment decisions. Recent news of two potential vaccine candidates suggests that there are better days ahead for the manufacturing sector and the economy as a whole,” Mr. Abdelrahman wrote.

Drug company Moderna Inc. said Monday that early data suggest its COVID-19 vaccine is 94.5 per cent effective, making it the second company to announced positive test results. Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE announced preliminary data last week that indicated its vaccine is 90 per cent effective.

Statscan said manufacturing sales rose in 13 of the 21 sectors as the wood industry climbed 9.6 per cent in September to a record $3.3-billion owing to higher sales at sawmills and wood preservation manufacturers.

The chemical industry rose 6.7 per cent to $4.5-billion, while the food industry increased 1.3 per cent to $9.2-billion for the month.

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Sales in the miscellaneous industry fell 4.8 per cent in September.

Statscan said manufacturing sales in constant dollars rose 2.1 per cent, indicating a larger volume of products was sold in September.

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