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Alberta’s economy in a league of its own in Canada

Alberta’s economy in a league of its own in Canada

Posted on: 5/30/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

​​When it comes to economic statistics, everything is relative. For example, if you lost your job during the recession of 2015-16, the fact that Alberta still had the highest per capita GDP of any province in those years is not much comfort.

With that said, Alberta’s economic output–in good times and bad–is simply in a different league than the other provinces. (The territories have high levels of per capita GDP but are not directly comparable due to their small populations and heavy dependence on the federal government.)

At $71,092 in 2017, Alberta’s real per capita GDP was $23,675 higher than the Canadian average. The next closest province was Saskatchewan with per capita GDP of $52,058. Economic output per person was only $32,123 in P.E.I.

Alberta’s position far out in front of the other provinces is not new. Starting with 1997 when the current data series begins, Alberta’s per capita GDP has been the highest among the provinces every year with the gap between it and the Canadian average ranging from a low $22,156 in 2016 and a high of $30,069 in 2014.

High levels of oil and gas exports, labour market participation and income explain much of Alberta’s unique economic position within Canada. It’s important to remember, however, that per capita GDP is an abstract measure and that many Albertans are struggling financially despite the large size of our economy.

GDP per capita, Alberta, graph​​

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