A year of recovery
Canada’s GDP was 0.3% lower in 2021 than it was in 2019 while Alberta’s output was 3.6% lower than it was going into the pandemic
By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 10 November 2022 1 min read
Statistics Canada has released revised estimates of real gross domestic product (GDP)* by province up to 2021. The revised numbers provide a better sense of how the provinces bounced back from the pandemic-induced downturns of 2020.
After a near-recession** in 2019, Alberta’s economic output decreased by 8.0% in 2020 compared to a drop of 5.1% nationally. Quebec lost the second most economic ground of any province at -5.0% while Prince Edward Island lost the least at -1.6%.
Things improved in 2021 with every province except Saskatchewan posting at least some GDP growth. PEI led the way with an increase of 7.9%. Alberta’s economic output grew by 4.8%.
Six provinces came out of 2021 ahead of where they were before the pandemic in 2019. PEI’s real GDP in 2021 was 6.1% higher than it was in 2019 followed by New Brunswick at +3.1% and BC at +3.0%.
As a country, Canada’s GDP was 0.3% lower in 2021 than it was in 2019 while Alberta’s output was 3.6% lower than it was going into the pandemic.
Saskatchewan has the most catching up to do with its GDP down by 5.6% in 2021 compared to 2019.
*Real GDP is the measure economists use to gauge the inflation-adjusted output of economies over time. It doesn’t tell us everything we need to know, but it is still a very useful way to get an overall sense of how an economy is performing.
**Prior to the revisions released on November 8, Alberta’s real GDP in 2019 was estimated to be 0.1% lower than it was in 2018 (i.e., a recession year). After the revisions, the annual change in output is in positive territory at +0.1%. Either way, it was not a strong year for the provincial economy.
Answer to the previous trivia question: As of the first nine months of 2022, about 85% of Alberta’s total oil production comes from the oil sands.
Today’s trivia question: What does the “gross” mean in gross domestic product?