CALGARY, Nov. 20, 2017 /CNW/ - Alberta's economy is gaining momentum, with oil and gas, agriculture, food processing, tourism, retail and manufacturing all experiencing growth. Still, challenges remain, with unemployment being the most significant hurdle for Albertans as we head into 2018.
Today, ATB Financial is releasing its latest Alberta Economic Outlook, providing insight into what has happened this year and what may happen in the months ahead.
The key findings are:
- Alberta has emerged from two years of recession with real GDP growth of around four per cent in 2017, likely the strongest in Canada.
- Retail and housing sector performance have improved.
- Oil prices have steadied, and have begun to inch higher (currently around $US 55 per barrel).
- Alberta's energy sector will grow this year, particularly in conventional drilling.
- Tourism, agriculture and agri-food will continue to show steady growth.
- Net out-migration to other provinces is likely to taper off, but continue at a slower rate next year.
- Alberta is expected to see a stubbornly high unemployment rate in 2017 and 2018.
"With Alberta experiencing real GDP growth of around four per cent this year, the recession is firmly behind us," says Todd Hirsch, ATB Financial's Chief Economist. "Unfortunately, it may not feel that way for many Albertans as we continue to struggle with an unemployment rate of nearly eight per cent."
The energy sector has stabilized and is enjoying some modest growth in business investment, especially in conventional drilling. The improvement in oil prices has been critical to Alberta's turn-around in 2017. Food and beverage processing, retail and wholesale trade and business and personal services (i.e., tourism and IT sectors) have also contributed to growth this year, along with stronger sales for the manufacturing sector. Construction activity is expected to slow.
ATB Financial's economics team is forecasting real GDP growth of 3.9 per cent in 2017, to be followed by growth of 2.7 and 2.2 per cent in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Read the complete ATB Alberta Economic Outlook (November 2017).
Watch (and re-purpose for broadcast) ATB Chief Economist Todd Hirsch summarize the latest Alberta Economic Outlook.
About ATB Financial
With assets of $49.6 billion, ATB Financial is Alberta's largest home-grown financial institution. Established in 1938, ATB is a network of 174 branches, 142 agencies, a Customer Care Centre, two Entrepreneur Centres, along with mobile and online banking. ATB's more than 5,000 team members help more than 730,000 customers in 247 Alberta communities.
SOURCE ATB Financial
For further information: For more information and interviews with ATB's Chief Economist Todd Hirsch, please contact: Karin Põldaas, Communications Dir., Economics and Research, ATB Financial, 403-660-5296, [email protected]