The Owl

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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Retail sales in Alberta increased slightly in August

But were much higher than in August 2020

Beyond the city walls

We don’t often get data specific to rural areas, so it’s great to see a new report from Statistics Canada examining the future expectations of rural Canadian businesses

Inflation not quite as high in Alberta

Spurred by steep gasoline prices and global supply chain disruptions, the inflation rate in Alberta was 4.0% in September, down from 4.7% in August

Labour shortages and high unemployment

Unpacking the reasons why we are hearing about unfilled jobs while the unemployment rate is high

Oil production in Alberta higher than ever

Year-to-date production in 2021 was 9% higher than in 2020 and 2% above 2019

Business conditions sink under fourth wave

But are still much better than at earlier stages of the pandemic

Manufacturing sales soften slightly in August

Despite the drop, sales are higher than in both August 2020 and August 2019

Jobs up in some sectors, down in others

Total employment in Alberta passed the pre-pandemic level in September, but the recovery was uneven across industries

Employment in Alberta finally passed its pre-pandemic level in September

This is positive news, but it’s tempered by the fact that employment is only 0.2% (3,700) higher than it was before the pandemic

Strong Indigenous population growth projected

The Indigenous identity population in Alberta is projected to grow by between 38% and 59% by 2041

Business confidence in Alberta slips during fourth wave

After rising to its highest level since 2014 in July (70.9), the index for Alberta fell to 62.0 in September

The damage done: Culture and sport during COVID

The latest data show that the real GDP of Canada's culture and sport sector during the second quarter of 2021 was still 6.2% below where it was during the same quarter in 2019

Non-residential construction intentions higher in August

Non-residential building permits had a strong month, rising by 49.5% ($124 million)

Population growth slows in Alberta

The annual rate of growth has not been this low since 1987

Alberta losing residents to BC

Seven provinces and territories lost residents to other parts of the country in the second quarter with Ontario down the most (-11,857) and British Columbia up the most (+15,290)

Tailwinds building behind oil prices

An increase in supply on the part of the OPEC+ cartel is likely, but it will take time for output to increase due to delayed maintenance and reduced investment in new supply

Mental health under pressure during the pandemic

Almost half of Canadians consider their stress levels to be worse than before the pandemic

Employment Insurance beneficiaries remain high

The number of Albertans on EI in July 2021 was 244% (131,300) higher than in February 2020

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