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OTTAWA (MNI)

Gross domestic product rose about 1% in August according to a Statistics Canada flash estimate Wednesday, slowing from its official July figure of 3%, reflecting the continued slowdown in activity after a burst of spending when the Covid-19 lockdown ended.

The August expansion continued across most industries "with the exceptions of retail trade and public administration which pulled back marginally," according to the agency's report from Ottawa.

GDP remains 6% below the pre-pandemic level and the central bank says there will be a long phase of recovery from here that reflects the virus dampening confidence and the difficulties resuming some kinds of work. There are also still 1.1 million people seeking to win their jobs back after the shutdown and almost the same number have deferred bill payments under a program that will soon end.

Still, July was a month where more industries returned pre-Covid production including agriculture, utilities, finance and insurance, Statistics Canada said. Retailing had returned to that mark in June.

Automobile and parts production again led the increase with a 39% gain in July, after most assembly lines were shut in the spring in Canada and the U.S. Wholesaling rose 4.6%, mining rose 11% while oil and gas extraction declined for the fourth time in five months.

The July GDP gain matched the MNI economist median and StatsCan's earlier flash estimate for the month. Output had gained 6.5% in June, following the record 11.6% drop in April as governments ordered people to limit travel and most restaurants and large worksites to shut.