TORONTO, June 11, 2014 /CNW/ - Strong gains in various sectors will
propel Alberta's economy to the top of provincial growth rankings in
2014, according to the latest RBC Economics Provincial Outlook released today. RBC forecasts that Alberta's real GDP growth for 2014
will replicate 2013's rate of 3.7 per cent.
"Alberta is head and shoulders above other provinces having experienced
an average growth rate of 4.3 per cent over the past four years," said
Craig Wright, senior vice-president and chief economist, RBC. "We
expect Alberta to top the growth rankings this year and to be the only
province with a growth rate above the 2.4 per cent national average - a
feat that hasn't been accomplished since the early 1980s."
RBC says that at its core, Alberta's economy is driven by the booming
energy sector with massive ongoing investments in the oil sands and
rising crude oil production. A wide range of economic sectors are
playing an increasingly larger role in provincial growth, however. An
example is Alberta's population growth - at a 30-year high - which is
boosting demand for housing and an array of consumer goods and
"Alberta is expected to carry much of the growth load for Canada this
year, as other previously thriving provincial economies are expected to
moderate slightly," said Wright. "This shouldn't be a problem as
everywhere you look in Alberta's economy there are signs of a boom."
In Q1 2014 Alberta's merchandise exports increased by 16 per cent
year-over-year while sales of manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers
were up by 8.4 per cent, 5.2 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively.
Crude oil production was up around 8.0 per cent early this year.
Housing starts stood 12.0 per cent above year-ago levels in the first
four months of 2014. Non-residential building construction climbed 8.5
per cent in the first quarter from the same period in 2013.
"Alberta's economic boom should continue in 2015 with real GDP at 3.5
per cent," noted Wright. "Job prospects in the province will continue
to act as a powerful magnet for out-of-province workers - we expect
this to be a main conduit for growth."
Nevertheless, RBC notes that Alberta's recent high population growth
rates of 3.5 per cent - the fastest since 1982 - will likely slow down
and cool interprovincial migration, which already weakened slightly in
late 2013 after reaching record levels. Slowing of population growth
should have a negligible adverse effect this year on housing and
consumer-dependent industries, says Wright, with retail sales for
example projected to surge 7.8 per cent. This will weigh a little more
substantially in 2015.
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/economic-reports/provincial-economic-forecasts.html.
For further information:
Craig Wright, RBC Economics Research, 416-974-7457
Robert Hogue, RBC Economics Research, 416-974-6192
Elyse Lalonde, Communications, RBC Capital Markets, 416-842-5635