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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

More housing news: New house prices stable

Posted on: August 11, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
t’s been a week full of housing indicators. Earlier in the week July’s housing start numbers were released. Next came building permits. Now, we have the latest New Housing Price Index (NHPI) numbers and they show a sturdy new housing market as well.

Building permits a mixed bag

Posted on: August 10, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
As yesterday’s Owl noted, the pace of new housing in our province is solid. But, new data shows signs that this pace might not continue.

Housing starts solid in July

Posted on: August 09, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
Oil prices may be stuck below $US 50 a barrel, but that doesn’t seem to be diminishing the optimism of Alberta’s home builders. Demand for new homes appears to be steady.

Alberta’s exposure to Venezuela

Posted on: August 08, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
A country that has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately is Venezuela. The South American oil producing nation has spiralled into a sad state of violence and political instability.

July’s job report a flop

Posted on: August 04, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
After several promising months during the first half of the year, Alberta’s job picture kicked off the second half of 2017 with a resounding thud.

Beef producers face another hurdle

Posted on: August 03, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
At the beginning of the year, beef producers in Alberta were worried about bovine tuberculosis and sliding prices, but recently a new threat has emerged. Alberta beef producers are now facing a large tariff hike imposed by Japan.

Albertans least likely to live alone

Posted on: August 02, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
Last year, only 24 per cent of Alberta households were occupied by only one person. That’s the lowest among the provinces and below the national average of 28.2 per cent.

 

Perch

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

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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​

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.

The Owl

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

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