OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says economic growth stalled in February ahead of the downturn in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The agency says real gross domestic product was essentially unchanged for the month as declines in educational services and disruptions in the transportation and warehousing sector offset growth in other areas.

The educational services sector fell 1.8 per cent in February due to rotating strikes by Ontario teachers, while the transportation and warehousing sector pulled back 1.1 per cent due to rail blockades across many parts of the country and a train derailment near Saskatoon.

Excluding these two sectors, Statistics Canada says the economy would have grown 0.2 per cent in February.

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In a preliminary estimate for March released earlier this month, the agency said the economy posted a nine per cent decline for the month as business came to a standstill due to measures taken to slow the spread of the pandemic.

The official estimates of GDP for March and the first quarter of 2020 will be released on May 29.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 30, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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