TORONTO, June 9, 2011 /CNW/ - The wheels of growth are picking up the
pace in Alberta, as the province gets set to reclaim its position as
Canada's fastest-growing economy, according to the latest provincial
Provincial Outlook report released today by RBC Economics.
"Not all economic sectors have displayed the same momentum so far this
year, but we believe that the expansion is spreading and will bring
wider benefits as 2011 progresses," said Craig Wright, senior
vice-president and chief economist, RBC. "This will translate into 4.3
per cent growth in real GDP in 2011, the best showing in the province
Strong demand for Alberta's bitumen continues to spur tremendous
activity in the province's various oil sands projects. This activity
more than makes up for the weakness in natural gas and declining
conventional oil output. Oil and gas extraction producers are in the
midst of a $24 billion spending binge this year, increasing their
outlays by almost 18 per cent relative to 2010. In the oil sands alone,
a tally of the capital budgets of companies developing various projects
shows an increase of 48 per cent since 2010.
"With more and more oil sands projects coming online or reaching higher
operating rates, non-conventional crude production is also booming in
the province, expanding at a 22 per cent rate in the early part of
2011," said Wright.
In addition to their direct contribution to the economy, the oil sands
also act as a catalyst for other segments of the provincial economy.
Some of the visible signs of renewed strength are the impressive job
gains in comparison to 2010 and the rise in retail sales by 4.4 per
cent on a year-to-date basis, second only to the rate in Saskatchewan.
Unlike the boom in the mid-2000s Alberta's economy has yet to attract
out-of-province migrants, which has kept the population growth rate and
demand for housing fairly soft. Residential construction is one of the
few sectors that are still lethargic.
"Growing economic opportunities in Alberta will once again be a magnet
for immigrants and migrants from other provinces, which will heat up
the housing demand in the coming year," added Wright.
The forecast for Alberta's economy in 2012 will remain relatively
stable, with growth in real GDP expected to ease to 3.8 per cent.
The RBC Economics Provincial Outlook assesses the provinces according to economic growth, employment growth,
unemployment rates, retail sales, housing starts and consumer price
The full report and provincial details are available online as of 8 a.m.
ET today at www.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, RBC Media Relations, (416) 974-8810