The Owl: Focused on Alberta’s Economy

Retail sales, the 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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Consumer spending was upbeat in January

Alberta led gains across all provinces in retail activity in January and was responsible for over a quarter of the rise in national sales

Tax-receipted charitable donations increased in 2021

Alberta tax filers donated almost $1.7 billion to charities for an annual increase of 7.1%

Alberta remains a migration magnet

Alberta gained 11,534 residents from other parts of Canada in the fourth quarter of 2022

Job vacancy rate down from peak

But remains high compared to before the pandemic

Price growth slowed the most in Alberta

Although still elevated at 3.6%, the headline inflation rate in Alberta in February was the lowest of any province

Wholesale activity starts off the year with a big splash

Alberta’s wholesale revenues surged to a record high in January

Farm prices down but not out

The prices received by Alberta farmers for key products ticked down in January, but remained above last year’s levels

Home construction activity on the rise again

Alberta’s residential market remained on strong footing two months into the year

Manufacturing starts the year with a bang

After posting two back-to-back declines, manufacturing revenues in Alberta jumped sharply to a record high in January

Dependency ratio rose again in 2022

Alberta stands out as the province with the lowest dependency ratio at 49.4 as of 2022 compared to a national average of 52.5

Exports strong out of the gate in 2023

After four consecutive pullbacks, the value of Alberta’s merchandise exports in January jumped $474 million

Job growth cooled in February

After solid gains in January, employment in both Canada and Alberta barely budged in February

And now we wait

ATB Financial's quarterly Alberta economic outlook as of March 2023

Pause button pressed

The Bank of Canada announced this morning it is keeping its trend-setting policy interest rate at 4.5% for now

Oil production took a breather in January

At 3.57 million barrels per day, Alberta’s oil output in January was 6.3% lower than in December

Construction intentions in Alberta improved to start the year

The seasonally-adjusted value of building permits issued in Alberta in January rose by 2.1%

Head office employment continues to contract

There are more head office employees in Calgary than in Edmonton (25,427 versus 5,027 as of 2021), but both cities have seen a 19% decline in staff levels since 2012

Capital outlook on strong footing in 2023

Capital spending intentions remain upbeat in Alberta and are expected to grow for the third straight year in 2023

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