indicatorThe Owl

Natural resources underpin the Alberta economy

At $106 billion, Alberta’s energy sector supplied more than half (57 per cent) of the $187 billion of GDP produced by Canada’s energy sector in 2018

By ATB Economics 17 June 2020 1 min read

According to new data released by Statistics Canada, Alberta’s natural resource sector produced a third (33 per cent) of Alberta’s real GDP in 2018. The proportion for Canada as a whole is smaller, but still significant, at 13 per cent.

Statistics Canada’s Natural Resources Satellite Account defines natural resources as mineral, energy, water, timber, and aquatic resources. The definition does not include agriculture.

The contribution of natural resources varies widely among the provinces with Newfoundland and Labrador at one end of the continuum (43 per cent of provincial GDP) and Prince Edward Island and Ontario at the other (5 per cent).

At 96 per cent of the total, Alberta’s natural resource economy is dominated by energy. Crude oil extraction accounted for 57 per cent of the GDP generated by Alberta’s natural resource economy in 2018, natural gas for 11 per cent, energy services for 20 per cent, and the manufacturing of energy products such as electricity, gasoline, petrochemicals and asphalt for 7 per cent.

At $106 billion, Alberta’s energy sector supplied more than half (57 per cent) of the $187 billion of GDP produced by Canada’s energy sector in 2018.

Although dwarfed by energy, the forestry and mining sectors added $4 billion to Alberta’s GDP in 2018 while the hunting, fishing and water subsector contributed $968 million.

Nationally, energy generated 72 per cent of the natural resource sector’s GDP in 2018, forestry 6 per cent, mining 20 per cent, and hunting fishing and water 3 per cent.

In terms of employment, there were over 613,000 natural resource sector jobs in Canada in 2018 with 165 thousand of those in Alberta (27 per cent). Unfortunately, weak oil prices and pipeline bottlenecks have pushed the number of jobs in Alberta down by about 32,000 (16 per cent) since the peak reached in 2013.

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The contribution of natural resources varies widely among the provinces

The economic contribution of natural resources varies widely among the provinces


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