TORONTO, June 12, 2012 /CNW/ - Alberta's economy was off to an
impressive start in 2012, according to the latest RBC Economics Provincial Outlook. The province led the nation in the majority of economic performance
indicators, by a wide margin in several instances. Going forward, RBC
expects Alberta's real GDP to grow at a rate of 4.0 per cent this year
and 3.9 per cent next year.
"Strong gains across a wide array of economic indicators so far this
year confirm that the impressive pick-up in activity we saw last year -
when real GDP growth exceeded five per cent for the first time since
2006 - was no fluke," said Craig Wright, senior vice-president and
chief economist, RBC. "Massive investment in the energy sector will
continue to drive activity throughout the provincial economy. Add in
another banner year for Alberta's oil production and a turnaround in
the housing sector and we will have the elements for continued strong
RBC's report indicated that growth was broad-based across industrial
sectors, a telltale sign that the benefits of strong capital investment
are spreading throughout Alberta's economy. Oil and gas extraction,
utilities, wholesale and retail trade, transportation, business and
personal services and public administration are all industries that
experienced growth in 2011.
In the first two months of this year, provincial crude oil production
was up noticeably from a year ago and was a key driver of double-digit
export gains. Higher sales abroad by chemical and petroleum product
manufacturers, as well as by machinery and equipment fabricators, also
contributed to stronger provincial exports so far this year.
"Alberta's job market remains particularly vibrant, leading the country
with employment growth year-over-year and the lowest jobless rate among
the provinces, at 4.9 per cent as of April," added Wright. "Bright job
prospects are attracting increasing numbers of workers from outside the
province, boosting population growth to 2.0 per cent - the fastest
across the country."
Positive income and demographic conditions have also supported
nation-leading growth in retail sales and housing starts to date in
2012, far outpacing gains made in other provinces.
The RBC Economics Provincial Outlook assesses the provinces according to
economic growth, employment growth, unemployment rates, retail sales,
housing starts and consumer price indices. The full report and
provincial details are available online as of 8 a.m. ET today at rbc.com/economics/market/pdf/provfcst.pdf.
For further information:
Craig Wright, RBC Economics Research, 416 974-7457
Robert Hogue, RBC Economics Research, 416 974-6192
Elyse Lalonde, Corporate Communications, RBC Capital Markets, 416 842-5635