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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.

Golden gooey goodness goes global

Posted on: March 20, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

Agriculture and agri-food production in Alberta is big business, and it’s not just the traditional beef, wheat and canola in the limelight. One of the most celebrated and successful food products coming out of Alberta these days is honey—and we’re selling it to the world.

Over the last decade, global exports of honey grew almost five-fold. Sales have grown exponentially since 2011 (see graph), and last year smashed all records with exports totalling over $33 million.

The United States is by far the largest export market for Alberta’s honey. Last year we sold nearly $23 million south of the border. Given America’s enormous size and growing economy, our domestic producers should be able to increase their share of the US market—that is, barring some disruption to trade flows. The tone coming out of the White House lately suggests that Canada is not one of President Trump’s trade targets.

But the biggest increase over the last decade has to be Japan, where sales of the sticky stuff skyrocketed from $600 thousand to nearly $10 million. Japan also offers the potential to become a much larger export market. While the country’s population growth is flat and it’s economy tepid, it is still an enormous market of 126 million people—roughly three-and-a-half times the size of Canada. Alberta honey producers have plenty of room to grow their way in.Global exports of Alberta honey, 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

E.I. claims tumble

Posted on: March 23, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
Being without work and collecting employment insurance (E.I.) became much more common for thousands of Albertans over the recession. But as 2017 got started, fewer E.I. cheques were flowing to the unemployed in the province.

Labour participation rate unaffected by recession

Posted on: March 22, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
The pain felt in Alberta’s labour market over the last couple of years has driven thousands of workers to unemployment. Yet recession or no recession, Albertans continue to be engaged in the workforce at a much higher rate than those in the rest of Canada

Alberta's retail sector sets 2017 on solid footing

Posted on: March 21, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
The first retail report of the year suggests that Alberta’s retail sector is starting 2017 on solid footing. The latest data show that sales from Alberta’s retailers grew to its highest level in over two years ($6.4 billion).

Manufacturing sets the stage for a decent year

Posted on: March 17, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
The first manufacturing report of 2017 suggests Alberta’s manufacturing sector is showing more signs of life and confirms shipments from Alberta’s factories are on the rise.

Alberta records lowest rate of business bankruptcies

Posted on: March 16, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
Albertans were happy to say, “Hasta la vista, baby,” to 2016. But while the economy wallowed in recession for a second straight year, we still managed to see the lowest rate of business bankruptcy in the country.

Oil drops below $US50

Posted on: March 15, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
After showing stability over the first couple months of the year, oil prices have fallen recently. The price for benchmark U.S. oil fell to around $US48 in North American trading Tuesday.

Alberta hotels and motels weathered the storm

Posted on: March 14, 2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team
Throughout the recession, tourism continued to be an enormous support to Alberta’s economy. New data from Statistics Canada shows the accommodation sector managed to navigate the downturn reasonably well.



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.

The Owl

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

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