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Economics & Research

​​​​​​​​​The Owl​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The Owl focuses on the day’s top economic news.

ATB Financial’s economics team interprets the latest statistics on wages, employment, inflation, the oil and gas industry and other economic drivers in our province.

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Manufacturing in Alberta Part 1: The best performers

Posted on: May 23, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

Alberta’s manufacturing sector has been through the ringer over the recession. From the peak of activity in the summer of 2014 to the lowest point in February of last year, the value of total manufacturing shipments in our province plunged 27 per cent. However, not all manufacturing in Alberta is created equally. In fact, a few segments managed to do very well.

The graph below shows an index of manufacturing in Alberta over the last three years. The heavy blue line represents total manufacturing, with the value in March 2012 set equal to 100. The most recent index value is now at 96.1, meaning total manufacturing is about four per cent lower than it was five years ago. The steady drop throughout 2014 and 2015 is clearly seen, as is the recovery over the last year.

The three orange lines show the best performing of Alberta’s major manufacturing sectors. (There are other sectors that performed even better, but they are insignificant in value.) The top performing sector was wood products, which rose 53 per cent over the last five years. Chemicals (+39 per cent) and food products (+18 per cent) also performed well above average.

None of these three sectors is related to the price of West Texas Intermediate oil, which suggests Alberta’s manufacturing sector has indeed become more diversified and less dependent on oil.

Tomorrow, The Owl will explore the three poorest performing manufacturing sectors in the province.Alberta manufacturing shipments, graph

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Alberta Economic Outlo​ok

ATB Financial’s Alberta Economic Outlook summarizes research on Alberta’s most important sectors. It analyzes the province’s economic happenings and outlines what may occur in the next few months. Read the Outlooks below for the latest on our economy.

May 2017 | March 2017

Q1 2016 | Q2 2016 | Q3 2016 | Q4 2016

Q1 2015 | Q2 2015 | Q3 2015 | Q4 2015

Q1 2014 |Q2 2014 | Q3 2014 | Q4 2014​​​​​​



Each Perch focuses on a topic that’s important to Alberta​ns.

While many of us can probably cite the daily price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude, there is room to improve our understanding of just how much oil we have, how much we produce and who buys it. This edition of Perch presents a handy set of answers to these questions.

So sit back and enjoy. ​​

Read Perch now

The Economic Team​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ (Left to right: Nick Ford, Todd Hirsch and Rob Roach)

Our Economics Team​


Todd Hirsch

Chief Economist

Todd Hirsch is the Chief Economist at ATB Financial. At ATB, Todd spends the bulk of his time sharing the story of Alberta’s economy in clear-eyed and energetic talks across the province and the rest of the country.

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Nick Ford


Nick Ford is an Economist at ATB Financial. Nick joined ATB’s Economics and Research team in February 2014 where he researches, tracks and reports on economic indicators and trends that impact Albertans.

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Rob Roach

Director of Insight

As a Director of Insight with ATB Financial’s Economics and Research team, Rob examines the economic and social forces that affect Albertans’ quality of life.

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 ATB's Extended Reports


Black gold

Alberta's oil resources

Read the report.

Tightening Santa's belt

Holiday spending and travel intentions (December 2016)

Read the report.

Preparing for success

Post-secondary education in Alberta (September 2016)

Read the report.

Selling our wares

Alberta's international exports (May 2016)

Read the report.

Happiness in Alberta

The full results of ATB Financial’s Alberta Happiness Survey (June 2015)

Read the report.

Hanging out your shingle

Self-employment in Alberta (November 2015)

Read the report.

People power

Population trends in Alberta (March 2016)

Read the report.

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