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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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Motorists faced higher prices, but grocery shoppers got a break in January

Posted on: February 24, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

Retail sales in Alberta have now risen for five consecutive months. Part of the increase in total sales may not be rising consumer sentiment, but rather the fact that prices are rising. The rate of annual consumer price inflation shot up to 2.5 per cent in January, the highest level in over two years.

One of the most significant price increases last month was gasoline. Compared to January of 2016, prices at the pump rose 33.9 per cent. A portion of this increase was due to the new 4.49-cents-per-litre carbon levy in the province, implemented January 1. (In February, however, most motorists will have noticed gas prices have plunged, showing how volatile gas prices can be month to month.)

Natural gas, which is also prone to price volatility, skyrocketed 42.3 per cent compared to a year earlier.

Some prices in Alberta actually fell, however, particularly for food purchased in grocery stores. Fresh vegetables dropped a whopping 17.3 per cent year-over-year. Fresh fruit (-9.8), baked goods (-2.6) and meat (-3.9) all dropped in price. And electricity cost 8.2 per cent less.

Nationally, Canada’s inflation rate also rose to the highest in more than two years to 2.1 per cent. Here, as in Alberta, a major factor contributing to the higher rate was gasoline. Prices on average across the country rose by more than a fifth compared to last year.Annual CPI inflation, 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 quarter. Read the Outlooks below for the latest on our economy.

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.

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