indicatorThe Twenty-Four

Alberta’s GDP by industry in 2021

Last year’s bounce back was strong but only partial

By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 3 May 2022 1 min read

With estimates from Statistics Canada now in for 2021, we have a better sense of how the economic recovery played out by industry last year.

Going back two years to when the pandemic started, real GDP contracted in every major industrial sector in Alberta in 2020 except for agriculture and forestry (+7.9%), finance and insurance (+5.7%) and real estate (+ 0.2%).

At the other end of the continuum, the arts, entertainment and recreation sector saw its real economic output fall in 2020 by 41.1% followed by management of companies and enterprises (-36.1%) and accommodation and food services (-28.5%). Alberta’s largest industry—mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction—shrank by 12.5% while the economy as a whole contracted by 8.0%.

Thankfully, things turned around last year with economic activity increasing in all but three sectors: management of companies and enterprises (-26.6%), agriculture and forestry (-25.6%) and utilities (-2.8%). Led by annual growth of 11.1% in accommodation and food services, the provincial economy overall expanded by 5.1% in 2021. 

Last year’s bounce back, however, was only partial. Compared to the pre-pandemic levels of 2019, real GDP in Alberta was still down in 15 of the 20 main industrial sectors.

Management of companies and enterprises was the furthest behind its pre-pandemic level (-53.2%) followed by arts, entertainment and recreation (-38.4%) and accommodation and food services (-20.6%). Output in the oil and gas sector was still 3.4% lower than in 2019 while the overall economy was still 3.3% below where it was before the pandemic.

Despite no shortage of economic headwinds this year, Alberta’s real GDP is expected to surpass the pre-pandemic benchmark and start growing again relative to where things stood in 2019.

Answer to the previous trivia question: At 6.6%, Prince Edward Island posted the largest percentage increase in real GDP among the ten provinces last year.

Today’s trivia question: What does NAICS stand for?

Alberta's real GDP in 2021 was 3.3% below the 2019 level

Alberta's real GDP in 2021 was 3.3% below the 2019 level

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