OTTAWA, March 14 (Reuters) - Canadian industries operated at 80.7 percent of their production capacity in the fourth quarter, as expected, down from 81.1 percent in the third, confirming greater slack in the economy after the weakest two quarters since the 2008-2009 recession.
Statistics Canada on Thursday revised the third-quarter capacity utilization rate from 80.9 percent originally.
The manufacturing sector was particularly hard hit, with capacity utilization in factories slowing to 80.2 percent from a revised 82.3 percent.
Unusually long seasonal shutdowns at some auto plants reduced capacity use in the transportation equipment industry by 3.5 percentage points to 88.9 percent.
Food manufacturers saw a record quarterly decline to 73.8 percent from 78.1 percent on reduced meat production.
Fourteen of the 21 manufacturing groups registered a decline in their capacity use.
The Bank of Canada, which closely watches the data when setting interest rates, said in January it believed the overall economy to be operating at 1 percent below its production capacity in the fourth quarter of 2012, a bigger degree of slack than it had previously expected.