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A worker at the GM plant in St. Catharines, Ont.

Manufacturing sales increased 1.7 per cent in October to $45.5-billion.

Statistics Canada attributes the increase largely to gains in the petroleum and coal products, primary metals and motor vehicle industries.

The agency says manufacturing sales have slowed their growth in recent months after increasing substantially between May 2009 and May 2010.

Constant-dollar manufacturing sales increased 1.1 per cent in October.

The agency reports increases in 14 of 21 industries, representing 80 per cent of total sales.

Sales in the petroleum and coal products industry rose 4.3 per cent to $6-billion in October, while primary metals increased 5.8 per cent to $3.8-billion.

Sales increased 3.7 per cent in the motor vehicle industry and production in the aerospace product and parts industry was up 7.4 per cent.

The computer and electronic product industry had the largest decline in October with sales decreasing 4.4 per cent.

Sales increased in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador and Saskatchewan in October.

Manitoba suffered the largest decline in sales in dollar terms, falling 6.6 per cent to $1.2-billion.

Inventory levels increased 0.3 per cent across the country to $60.4-billion. Inventory levels have been relatively stable in 2010 following declines for most of 2009.

Unfilled orders declined 1.4 per cent to $52.5-billion in October, the lowest level since last April.

New orders rose three per cent to $44.8-billion, with the primary metal, transportation equipment, machinery and petroleum and coal product industries leading the way.