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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.


ATB customer calls show economic improvement

Posted on: January 11, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

There’s no doubt that the current economic downturn has been difficult for many Albertans. But, a recent analytics study of ATB Financial’s own Customer Care Centre (our team that helps customers) shows that the economic situation here in Alberta may slowly be getting better.

The study showed that approximately 5,000 calls (two per cent of the total call volume during the study dates) to the Customer Care Centre were regarding “severe financial hardship”—customers who are facing severe financial hardship are delinquent on their payments for more than three months. While seemingly a lot of calls, that’s a drop of about 30 per cent compared to a year earlier.

The number of people who proactively called to consolidate their loans or refinance had also dropped (-22 per cent). The latest study showed that 1,659 customers phoned in regards to restructuring compared to 2,242 a year earlier.

Despite these signs of optimism, there was a five per cent increase from last year in the number of calls pertaining to “moderate financial strain”. These are clients who have missed more than one payment and are calling to inquire about deferring more payments. These customers may be unsure about their job prospects and ability to pay in the future. The increase in calls relating to missed payments and job uncertainty are not surprising, especially given Alberta’s mounting unemployment rate at the time.

It’s true that the rise in calls regarding missed payments and job uncertainty could evolve into something even more difficult. However, the overall decreases in calls pertaining to “severe financial hardship” as well as loan consolidations show that Alberta’s economy may be starting to slowly recover.Albertans' economic situation, graph

Alberta Economic Outlook

ATB Financial’s Alberta Economic Outlook summarizes research on Alberta’s most important sectors, covering the first quarter of 2015. 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 2015 | Q2 2015

Alberta’s GDP prone to large swings

Posted on: April 28, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
From craggy mountains to flat grasslands, seas of trees to the mysterious hoodoos, Alberta is a land of extremes. The same holds true for its economic growth.

Earnings continue their decline

Posted on: April 27, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
One way companies can adapt to tougher economic conditions is to lower their costs, including wages. Earnings of Alberta employees have been trending negatively for nearly two years.

Retail continues to show strength

Posted on: April 26, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
From car flags to hockey jerseys, playoff fever has had—and is still having—a profound effect on Alberta retailers. While the latest retail report doesn’t capture this month’s hockey frenzy, it does suggest continued strength in Alberta’s retail sector.

Oil sands output recovers from forest fire disruption

Posted on: April 25, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
Since Alberta’s oil sands operations are located in forested areas, the fires that raged through northern Alberta's forests in 2016 forced a significant shutdown of production.

Wholesale trade rises for fifth consecutive month

Posted on: April 24, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
A few indicators are suggesting Alberta’s economy is picking up steam. Labour market statistics and housing start numbers are among them, as well as wholesale activity.

Commercial construction spending in Edmonton and Calgary

Posted on: April 21, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
Hockey fans in Calgary and Edmonton may be experiencing different emotions—much more upbeat in the capital city today. But differences in hockey playoffs aside, Alberta’s two major cities have much more in common these days...

Adapting to the post-recession economy

Posted on: April 20, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
As Albertans, we are all aware of the economic clouds that have been hanging over our province for the last two years.

 

Perch

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

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

Our Economics Team​​​

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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

Economist

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.

The Owl

The latest developments in business and economics from a unique Albertan perspective.

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ATBOnline Advice

In only 20 minutes, you can receive a personalized financial forecast for your goals and an action plan to get started.

Learn more at advice.atb.com

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