Some of Canada’s most respected economic experts are forecasting that Alberta will lead the country in economic growth for the next two years. In late July, Bloomberg reported that its survey of economists pegs GDP growth at 2.9 per cent this year and 2.4 per cent in 2018.
That survey follows a TD Economic report predicting GDP growth this year of 3.7 per cent – far higher than Alberta’s average growth rate of 2.6 per cent between 2005 and 2015. Its reports have cited Alberta’s historic infrastructure build, and the increased investor confidence that comes with pipeline approvals, as contributing factors to our economic recovery.
We don’t have control over world oil prices, but can control how we react. Strategic investments from government and industry have helped cushion the blow and stimulate growth. Nearly 49,000 jobs were created here over the last year. Alberta also continues to have the highest employment rate in the country and the highest weekly earnings.
Alberta consumer spending is up as well, another positive sign the economy is turning around. Retail sales in Alberta were at $6.8 billion in May – higher than the pre-recession peak of $6.7 billion seen in October 2014.In the first four months of 2017, Alberta accounted for more than 73 per cent of Canada’s entire exports increase compared with the same period in 2016.
Statistics Canada’s latest GDP report shows Alberta has already begun bolstering the economic performance of the entire country. For instance, the national economy grew nearly one per cent between April and May, with significant contributions from the energy sector – much of which is concentrated in our province. This sector grew nearly five per cent in the same month. The number of unique wells drilled in Alberta totaled 196 in May 2017, up 250 per cent from May 2016.
Alberta is the economic engine Canada needs for the 21st century. We’re not out of the woods yet, but there are positive signals that the economy is improving.
MLA for Banff-Cochrane