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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.


Office construction costs flat-lining

Posted on: February 17, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
Those shiny office towers standing majestically on the skylines of Edmonton and Calgary aren’t just impressive—they’re expensive! The costs of these major commercial office projects tend to fall during recessions. But what’s happening this time?

 

The graph below shows how office construction costs have both risen and fallen at certain points over the last 20 years. With costs in 2002 set equal to 100, the index value for Edmonton builders stood at 163.8 in the last quarter of 2016, or nearly 64 per cent higher than in 2002. The index for Calgary was 166.3. Building costs tracked by Statistics Canada include services required for design and construction, such as structural tradeworkers, architects, and mechanical and electrical trades. The index does not include building material costs.

The costs showed a major drop in both cities during the 2009 recession, but that downturn was short-lived. Costs gradually resumed their rise after that but fell short of the record high set in 2008. In this most recent recession, costs have fallen only modestly. From a peak in the second quarter of 2014, costs fell by only 3.5 per cent in Calgary and 4 per cent in Edmonton.

Costs appear to have stabilized and even inched higher in the fourth quarter of last year, suggesting that builders may not see much more cost reduction in 2017. It may not matter too much. Given that office vacancy rates are set to hit record highs in 2017, it’s unlikely another major office tower will be built for quite some time.Office building construction, 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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