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Machinery Manufacturing: At the Centre of the Economy

August 24, 2020
François Dupuis, Vice-President and Chief Economist
Mathieu D’Anjou, Deputy Chief Economist • Joëlle Noreau, Senior Economist

For many of us, the machinery manufacturing industry remains a mystery, yet it lies at the heart of the economy, its products incorporated into all kinds of manufacturing. It’s essential not only for factory assembly lines, but also the aviation, forestry, mining, agriculture, energy transmission (electric, wind, solar), food distribution production, retailing and pharmaceutical industries... in short, everywhere you look. Recent years have been especially good for the industry, shown by the increase in the number of jobs and GDP. That said, the machinery manufacturing industry is facing two major disruptions in the short term, each one divided into a “before” and an “after.” The first shock is the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many factories to press pause, then stop, limit or pivot production. The second shock is the digital revolution, specifically, the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) into manufacturing, which will revolutionize how things and machines are designed and produced. It was impossible to escape the first shock; it will be difficult to hold out against the second.

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