The Owl: Focused on Alberta’s Economy

Retail sales, unemployment rate, population growth, inflation, international trade—these are just a few of the economic trends the team makes sense of in The Owl.

Economics News

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A whole lotta wholesaling going on in April

Building materials posted the largest month-over-month increase in April at 20.5% ($255.0 million) while farm products pulled back by 4.9% ($6.3 million)

Spiking inflation: Tempest in a teapot or actual storm?

The pandemic has created some unwanted excitement with the national inflation rate hitting 3.4% in April and 3.6% in May

Factory shipments in Alberta had a strong April

Year-to-date sales were roughly the same as they were in 2019 before the disruptive effects of the virus

Exports lost some steam in April, but still chugging along

Total exports were, however, 56% higher this April than the year before when plummeting oil prices and the pandemic were wreaking havoc with Alberta’s economy

Waiting it out: The pandemic and the tourism sector

Between border closures, other public health measures and hesitancy on the part of some potential travellers, the tourism sector has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic

A mix of sun and cloud: Alberta’s economic outlook

Many things are moving in the right direction, but it is important not to underestimate the damage that has occurred over the last 15 months

Bank of Canada leaves interest rate at 0.25% for now

The rate will be increased when the Bank feels it needs to tap the economic brakes, but it looks like the earliest this will happen is “sometime in the second half of 2022”

Crop and cattle prices going strong

The price improvement has been driven by tight global supplies and increased international demand

Oil and gas, forestry and construction added jobs in May

At the other end of the continuum were sectors still dealing with the impact of public health restrictions

Overall employment growth in Alberta was flat in May

On a seasonally adjusted basis, employment in the province contracted by 0.04% or about 1,000 jobs out of 2.2 million

Residential building permits had a strong April in Alberta

Residential permit value increased by 15.4 per cent in April compared to March with multiple dwelling buildings accounting for most of the jump

Alberta’s economy could use a cup of joe

Oil and gas capital spending is half of what it was four years ago

Number of Alberta businesses going in the right direction

Although still down from its pre-pandemic level by 2.1 per cent, the seasonally adjusted number of active businesses in Alberta rose for the ninth month in a row in February

Two-thirds of Alberta businesses optimistic when looking ahead 12 months

About 17 per cent of businesses said they are very optimistic, 51 per cent somewhat optimistic and 15 per cent not optimistic

Average earnings slip as lower paid workers return

Average weekly earnings in Alberta in March went from $1,238 to $1,208—a drop of 2.4 per cent compared to the previous month

Farming a bright spot in Alberta last year

While revenue was up for most crops including wheat, canola, barely and cannabis, it was down by 6 per cent for cattle due to disruptions related to the pandemic

Second and third wave temper consumer spending in Alberta

Consumer spending has been kept in check so far in 2021 by public health measures, caution on the part of consumers and the accumulated financial stress facing many families and businesses in the province

New home prices on the rise in Alberta

The average price of newly built homes in Alberta was on a downward trend before the pandemic, but has picked up some steam in recent months

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