Challenges continue for economy: ATB’s Alberta Economic Outlook

By ATB Financial 10 September 2019 2 min read

Calgary–ATB Financial’s newest Alberta Economic Outlook reflects the challenge insufficient pipeline capacity is posing for our province’s economy. With a sluggish oil and gas sector dampening job creation, consumer spending and construction activity, ATB is forecasting 0.8 per cent real GDP growth for Alberta in 2019 and 2.0 per cent in 2020.

ATB’s Economic Outlook, released today, analyzes how our economy is performing and provides insight into where it is heading. Its key findings include:

  • Capital spending in the oil and gas sector remains soft as investors wait until there is more assurance that pipeline projects will be completed

  • The differential between the Alberta natural gas price benchmark and the North American benchmark has widened

  • The number of unemployed Albertans is growing and the average unemployment rate over the first seven months of 2019 was 6.9 per cent

  • Consumer spending is down

  • Building permits are down this year

  • Global economic headwinds have been increasing

“Alberta’s economy is facing challenges from all sides—from the lack of pipeline capacity to trade wars—which is why ATB is forecasting marginal growth this year,” said ATB’s Chief Economist Todd Hirsch. “At the same time, we are forecasting growth of 2.0 per cent in 2020 assuming some of the transportation issues clogging up the oil patch will be resolved and investment in new production will increase.”

Alberta’s export sector is being hindered by Chinese restrictions on key Canadian agricultural products and a slowing global economy.

“Despite the global headwinds and ongoing pipeline challenges the Alberta economy is still forecast to grow, albeit less than 1.0 per cent this year,” said Hirsch.

Read the complete ATB Financial Alberta Economic Outlook (September 2019).

For further information and interviews with ATB’s Chief Economist Todd Hirsch, please contact:

Karin Põldaas 
Communications Director
ATB Financial 

About ATB Financial

With $54.2 billion in assets, ATB Financial is an Alberta-built financial institution. But don't let that fool you—we're so much more than a bank. We got started in 1938 to help Albertans through tough economic times, and today we have 174 branches, 141 agencies, a Client Care Centre, four entrepreneur centres, and mobile and online banking. And did you know we're fast becoming the digital bank and the bank for entrepreneurs? We're already the place to work for our more than 5,500 team members who love to serve our 770,000-plus customers in 247 Alberta communities. To find out more, visit us at​

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