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Alberta tops provincial GDP growth

Alberta tops provincial GDP growth

Posted on: 11/13/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

​​New data from Statistics Canada suggests Alberta’s GDP grew at a rate of 4.4 per cent in 2017, the highest of all the provinces. Nationally, growth was at three per cent.

The agency makes the comparison using 2012 chained dollars, adjusting the figures to account for price inflation. The numbers show Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and British Columbia joined Alberta with above average performances. Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador underperformed. Growth for Ontario and Quebec came in at 2.8 per cent, positive though still below the national average.

It may be challenging to understand how Alberta could be the fastest growing province last year when its economy was just barely crawling out of recession and the unemployment rate was among the highest in the country. Keep in mind, these numbers are an assessment of annual statistical growth, not overall economic performance.

Alberta’s economy contracted almost eight per cent in 2015 and 2016, so growth of 4.4 per cent in 2017 only got us roughly half way out of the recessionary hole. Even with forecast growth this year of 2.5 per cent, our economy will remain smaller than it was in mid-2014. So the province’s GDP growth may be leading the country, but that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet. It could still take until the end of 2019 before Alberta’s economy returns to pre-recession size.

AB GDP, 2017, graph

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