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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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Three cheers for local beers!

Posted on: March 28, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

This week, Red Deer will host the 2017 Alberta Craft Brewing Convention. And judging by the number of new entrants into the market, they’ll have a big turn-out at the event. Craft breweries have been sprouting up across the province over the last few years.

The chart below shows how, from one humble craft brewery in Alberta in 1984 (Big Rock), the industry has exploded in size. Mostly due to a change in legislation governing the craft brewing industry, there are now 58 active breweries in Alberta. Many of them are micro-operations, brewing up niche products in small amounts. Others, such as Big Rock, Alley Cat and Village Brewery, are larger size—and they’re going head-to-head in competition with the traditional, large national brands.

Craft breweries are an important piece of the economic puzzle for Alberta. Not only do they represent a nice piece of economic diversity within the agriculture and agri-food sector (which has remained a pillar of economic growth throughout the recession). But they also add an important element for the tourism industry. A plethora of craft breweries has helped put other cities on the tourism map, such as Portland, Oregon. As Alberta’s craft breweries continue to grow in number, it adds to the variety of activities for visitors to enjoy while they are here.

In 2017, local products are sought after. Our locally crafted beers are a true economic success story that’s being celebrated in every corner of our province. To which The Owl says... Cheers!Craft breweries in Alberta, 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.

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.

In this edition, we did a survey to understand how much Albertans intend to spend over the holidays and if they are planning to travel. It’s important to know what to expect because the surge in spending that takes place ahead of Christmas is often critical to a retailer’s survival.

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


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.

2016 ATB Financial. All rights reserved. ®ATB Financial is a trade name/registered trademark of Alberta Treasury Branches.