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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Manufacturing increases again in February

Shipments from Alberta’s factory floors rose for the sixth month in a row in February. Compared to January, seasonally adjusted manufacturing sales rose by 1.9 per cent to reach $6.1 billion

Oil prices holding up nicely so far

WTI has averaged almost US$62 per barrel since the start of March while the Western Canadian Select benchmark has averaged just under US$52 over the same period

Pandemic shines a light on precarious employment

Concern has been raised about a growing segment of western society referred to as the “precariat”

Job recovery remains uneven

The hospitality sector still has the biggest pandemic-related employment hole to fill 

Alberta's unemployment rate improved in March

The provincial unemployment rate went from 9.9 per cent in February to 9.1 per cent in March

Energy exports from Alberta up in February

The latest international merchandise trade numbers show Alberta’s foreign exports rose by 8 per cent ($665.6 million) in February compared to the month before

Global oil demand on the rise

Of critical importance to Alberta’s oil patch is that U.S. and Canadian oil consumption are forecast to grow this year and next

Research and development spending in Canada

R&D spending in Canada is well below many of our international peers

Non-residential construction outlook better in February

A doubling of government sector building permits and a strong rise in commercial permit value pushed up the non-residential total by 52.7 per cent in February

Long-term shifts in the Alberta job market

Payroll jobs in all but two major industry categories grew between 2001 and 2019

Payroll employment fell in January

Seasonally adjusted payroll employment in Alberta fell by 32,236 jobs (-1.8 per cent) in January 2021 compared to December 2020

The economic output of non-profits in 2020

Canada’s non-profit sector as a whole managed to grow in 2020 but picture is different when we drill down to the sector's component parts

Business confidence in Alberta flat since January

When asked about the current state of their business, only 21 per cent of owners in Alberta said “good” in March whereas 37 per cent said “bad.”

Another punishing month for Alberta restaurants and bars

January 2021 saw the 11th consecutive year-over-year drop in sales with the largest decline recorded in April 2020 when sales plummeted by 57 per cent

Art and sport sector revenue cut in half during the pandemic

Revenue for spectator sports, event promoters, artists and related industries will have decreased by around 50 per cent in 2020 says Statistics Canada

Income down in Alberta

The decrease since 2014 is larger for unattached individuals at 5.8 per cent compared to 1.8 per cent for families

Alberta is one of the most educated places in the world

The rising share of Albertans with post-secondary education is encouraging, but we can’t rest on our laurels

Retail sales in Alberta off to a strong start in 2021

Despite ongoing public health restrictions, retail sales in Alberta increased in January

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