April 19, 2023

Affordability and opportunity attract people to Alberta, but barriers to long-term growth and prosperity must be addressed

We know there is so much economic data and information out there, and that you want a way to see it all in a snapshot with a view looking forward and not just back. That’s why we created the Alberta Snapshot, a quarterly executive summary that helps you keep the pulse on what is happening in Alberta’s economy—the good, bad, and urgent.

We use a wide and diverse range of indicators including data on jobs, consumer spending and debt, business openings and closings, population growth, economic forecasts, and more to assess and synthesize economic activity, business conditions, and social well-being in a way that is meaningful to Albertans and Alberta businesses.

Alberta Snapshot Spring 2023—Key Insights

In our previous update, we reported that Alberta’s labour market was one of the hottest on record and commodity prices drove economic growth in Alberta, but wages were growing at a stubbornly slow pace. Many of these trends continue.

In the short term, Alberta’s affordable cost of living and opportunity is attracting people from high-cost markets in Canada, policies are easing the most damaging impacts of inflation, and businesses remain optimistic about future sales and hiring.

But there are barriers that we must address to realize long-term growth and prosperity, including persistent slow wage growth, modest capital investment and low new business creation, and growing demand for housing.

Download the full report here or scroll below for more highlights.

Report Highlights:

Alberta is Calling; Canadians are Answering: Enticed by Alberta’s affordable cost of living, opportunities, and lifestyle, over 50,000 people have flocked to the province from July to December 2022, with the biggest inflow of people is from Canada’s highest cost markets, including Ontario and BC.

More People; More Homes: Builders are busy but struggling to keep up with the demand: on average, 4 new homes are completed for every 10 families. As Alberta’s population grows, Alberta will need to build many, many more homes. This will be crucial to ensure Alberta remains an affordable place to live.

Business Optimistic; Economy Slowly Growing: Business conditions in Alberta are favorable and now on par with other provinces, and Alberta is expecting modest growth in 2023. Businesses are optimistic about the future and plan to invest and hire.

Modest Capital Investment; Lagging Productivity. While businesses do plan to invest this year, overall capital investment intentions for 2023 only slightly edge out previous years. Despite high commodity prices, energy companies are not investing at the levels we’ve seen previously nor are companies outside of oil and gas investing heavily in machinery or equipment. The challenge is that to realize the productivity gains needed for long-term growth, we need to improve our capital investment performance.

Inflation Easing; Wage Growth Slow: Provincial policies have provided much-needed relief to Albertans struggling with the rising cost of living; however, wage growth in Alberta has remained stubbornly slow, compared to the rest of Canada. Without stronger wage growth over the long term, this relief may soon dissipate.  

If you would like to use this report in a publication, please use the following citation.

Business Council of Alberta. Spring 2023.
Alberta Snapshot: A Quarterly Economic Update for Alberta.

Explore Insights:

Share This