March 1, 2016 / 2:40 PM / 2 years ago

Canada manufacturing sector shrinks for 7th month in February

Production Associates inspect cars moving along assembly line at Honda manufacturing plant in Alliston, Ontario March 30, 2015. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill

OTTAWA, March 1 (Reuters) - A measure of activity in the Canadian manufacturing sector was nearly unchanged in February as the industry shrank for the seventh month in a row as new orders and employment weakened, data showed on Tuesday.

The RBC Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), a measure of manufacturing business conditions, edged up to a seasonally adjusted 49.4 last month from 49.3 in January.

The index has been below the 50 threshold that marks growth since August. Canada was in a mild recession in the first half of 2015 and has struggled to regain momentum as oil prices continue to fall.

Even so, it was the highest level for the index since August as the sector was helped by U.S. growth and export sales that were boosted by the weak Canadian dollar, said Craig Wright, chief economist at RBC.

Although new export orders saw growth, the pace slowed. The measure of overall new orders slipped to 49.4 from 49.6.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli

leah.schnurr@thomsonreuters.com; +1 613 235 6745; Reuters Messaging: leah.schnurr.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net; Twitter: @LeahSchnurr

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