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Alberta Snapshot

A Quarterly Economic Update

A quarterly economic overview, the Alberta Snapshot helps you make sense of where Alberta’s economy is headed.

We know there is so much economic data and information out there, and that you want a way to see it all in a snapshot with a view looking forward and not just back. That’s why we created the Alberta Snapshot, a quarterly executive summary that helps you keep the pulse on what is happening in Alberta’s economy—the good, bad, and urgent.

We use a wide and diverse range of indicators including data on jobs, consumer spending and debt, business openings and closings, population growth, economic forecasts, and more to assess and synthesize economic activity, business conditions, and social well-being in a way that is meaningful to Albertans and Alberta businesses.

Explore the latest update through the graphs below or by downloading the report below.

The pulse of Alberta’s economy, delivered right to your inbox every quarter.

Key Insights

In our previous update, we reported that going into 2022, Alberta’s economy was on the rebound: employment levels were near pre-COVID levels, business leaders were optimistic, commodity prices were high, and there was positive activity in new home builds.

Coming in to the second quarter of 2022, this rebound has held steady. In fact, Alberta is poised for the biggest turnaround in economic growth in Canada, and there are many signs for continued optimism.

However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing conflict has formed new concerns for the supply and affordability of energy and food as well as the long-term impact on international trade relationships and the role of Canada (and Alberta) going forward.

Key opportunities for Alberta: ensuring Albertans are skilled to succeed and increasing the share of capital investment in the province to drive future growth and innovation.

Highlights

  • Several indicators show positive signs of economic growth including continued high commodity prices, dropping of COVID restrictions and increase in hiring in impacted sectors like food and accommodation and retail, and notably, a net increase in interprovincial migration. For the second quarter in a row, more Canadians are choosing to live in Alberta: 4,500 more people moved to Alberta than left the province in Q3, and 3,500 more in Q4.
  • Amidst this strong recovery, decreasing incomes and rising prices are straining household budgets in Alberta. Years of weak income growth and debt accumulation mean that individual Albertans are falling behind more than those in any other province.
  • Beyond the immediate and devastating humanitarian impact, the war in Ukraine has created a rippling economic impact across the globe, putting both the affordability and security of goods such as energy and food at risk. Additionally, the conflict has brought international trade relationships and dependencies into sharp focus and what the future of these trade relationships looks like.
  • Nearly three-quarters of businesses plan to hire over the next year, a positive sign. However, there are still many Albertans on the sidelines of the labour force, indicating a continued skills mismatch, and the long-term growth strategy of the province will require ensuring Albertans have the skills to succeed.
  • Venture capital investment was an encouraging story in 2021 and continuing to raise the share of investment in Alberta (currently at 4% in Canada) is a huge opportunity to generate prosperity in an innovation-driven economy.

If you would like to use this report in a publication, please use the following citation.

Business Council of Alberta. April 2022.
Alberta Snapshot: A Quarterly Economic Update.

Download April 2022 Snapshot

Indicators

Alberta's Employment Recovery

Canadians and Albertans are getting back out and about

Though the spread of Omicron and related restrictions put an initial damper on cheering at hockey games and shopping, many are doing those things again. In fact, Canada saw one of the biggest improvements in normal activity over the last couple of weeks and mobility data shows the same is true in Alberta. Overall, concerns about COVID are fading, as the economy becomes the top issue according to a recent poll by Nanos.

The biggest challenge for many Albertans is that incomes are not keeping up with rising prices

In fact, Albertans are struggling more than those in any other province. While prices have increased ~7%, incomes have increased by just 3% on average since COVID. Many have canceled a major purchase or are finding it difficult to afford basic necessities. Specifically, younger individuals (18 – 34) are most likely to feel their budgets stretched.

Alberta Retail Sales
GDP % and Growth Forecast

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine brings a new dark cloud

Most countries are moving past the pandemic, but a new dark cloud has emerged. Though the humanitarian crisis of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the most serious issue, the economic impact is reverberating across the globe. The OECD finds that market and supply chain disruptions could decrease global GDP growth by more than 1% and prices by more than 2.5%. That means less income, more poverty, and greater food insecurity for millions of people.

Venture capital remains opportunity for Alberta to seize

To generate long-term prosperity, Alberta will need to focus on new forms of investment in an innovation-driven economy. One opportunity is growing Alberta’s share of venture capital (VC) dollars. VC is early-stage investment which helps to get new ideas off the ground. Alberta is setting records and seeing growth but is not keeping pace with the enormous explosion of VC nationally. In 2021, Alberta attracted just 4% of VC investment, representing a huge growth opportunity.

Alberta Retail Sales

Contact

This report is produced by and the property of the Business Council of Alberta. For more information, please contact:

Mike Holden, Vice President, Policy & Chief Economist
mholden@businesscouncilab.com
Twitter: @MHoldenAB

Media Inquiries: media@businesscouncilab.com

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