The Canadian economy contracted for a seventh straight month in February, led by slumping construction, according to data released Thursday morning from Statistics Canada.

Real gross domestic product edged down 0.1% in February. Economic activity has declined by 2.4% since October 2008. February's result was in line with analyst estimates.

A 19% rise in motor vehicle and associated parts manufacturing in February was not enough to outweigh declines in construction and in mining activities (excluding oil and gas).

Wholesale and retail trade and several major groups of the manufacturing sector also declined. Conversely, oil and gas extraction and some tourism-related industries advanced. The finance and insurance sector as well as the public sector were unchanged.

The output of the manufacturing sector edged up 0.1% in February as production of motor vehicles and associated parts rose 19%. Excluding motor vehicle and parts production, the manufacturing sector dropped 0.8%.

Of the 21 major manufacturing groups, 13 contracted. Notable declines were posted in wood products, electric equipment, appliance and component, and plastics and rubber products manufacturing. Paper and primary metal products manufacturing increased.

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