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Alberta Snapshot

A Quarterly Economic Update

A quarterly economic overview, the Alberta Snapshot helps you make sense of where Alberta’s economy is headed.

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.

Explore the latest update through the graphs below or by downloading the report below.

The pulse of Alberta’s economy, delivered right to your inbox every quarter.

Key Insights

In our previous update, we reported that global economic forecasts had been downgraded but Alberta was positioned to weather the storm. This continues to hold true, but Canadians are concerned about the economy, which is driven primarily by the rising cost of living.  

Hot Jobs; Cool Wages: Job vacancies are high, and unemployment is low, which is leading to one of the hottest job markets Alberta has seen in years. However. wage growth remains stubbornly slow in Alberta, especially compared to the rest of Canada. In fact, real wages in Alberta have decreased by 5%. However, with a tight labour market and hiring intentions strong, we predict wage pressure to intensify and wage growth to accelerate.

Strong, But Not Unscathed: High commodity prices drove economic growth in 2022, and while prices are expected to moderate in 2023, Alberta’s resource sectors will continue to be an economic strength amidst a potential global slowdown. Additionally, globally-driven inflation is also expected to moderate in 2023, providing some anticipated relief to Albertan pocketbooks.


  • Alberta’s labour market is the tightest it has been in years. Businesses are looking to hire, but there are fewer Albertans looking for work as job vacancies rise and unemployment remains relatively low. There are still about 100,000 jobs open in Alberta and about 145,000 people looking for jobs.
  • A hot labour market might heat up what is otherwise cool wage growth. Inflation is taking a mean bite out of wages, which for Albertans, have been growing much slower than the rest of Canada. With prices up 6.5% and wages up only 1.5%, Albertans’ wage are in a steep decline. However, with a tight labour market, wage pressure is likely to increase—and wage growth likely to accelerate.
  • Alberta’s economic strength is driving Canada’s growth. With near record prices in energy and record crops, exports were a major source of growth for Canada’s economy in Q3 2022. While commodity prices are expected to moderate in 2023, they will remain elevated and will help buoy Alberta through a potential global economic slowdown.
  • Despite growth forecasts, many Canadians believe we are already in a recession. Two-thirds of Canadians describe the state of Canada’s economy as “bad.” The culprit? Inflation. Canadians are spending more to afford basic needs and maintain their quality of life but are not getting more for their money. Rising cost of living remains a top concern for Albertans and Canadians.
  • The threat of a global recession could weigh on Alberta’s prosperity. Global economic forecasts have been downgraded yet again, with growth expected to be at 1.7% in 2023, and Inflation-fighting measures like interest rates are weighing down business investment expectations in the province.

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

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

Download Winter 2023 Snapshot


Alberta's Employment Recovery

Alberta’s labour market is the hottest it’s been in years

Businesses may be looking to hire, but few Albertans are left looking for work. As of the latest data, there are around 100k open jobs and 145k people looking for work–50k more job openings and 40k fewer unemployed workers pre-COVID. As the province closes in on full employment, businesses are increasing staffing by attracting younger and older non-working Albertans as well as new Albertans.

Inflation is taking a big bite out of wages

As wages decline and savings are spent, it will be harder for consumers to maintain their standard of living. This is especially true in Alberta. As mentioned, Albertans’ wages have only increased about 1.5% versus last year. At the same time, prices are now 6.5% higher, pushing real wages into steep decline. Not surprisingly, the rising cost of living is the top issue on the minds of Albertans.


Alberta Retail Sales
GDP % and Growth Forecast

Global economic predictions are getting gloomier and people are concerned

Globally, 68% of people describe the current economic state of their country as “bad”. In Canada, this number is just below the average at 66% but is on the rise, increasing 5% points from October to November. The same report sheds light on why: 54% of Canadians (and 42% of individuals globally) name inflation as their top “worrying” issue.

Investment expectations strong but could be difficult to maintain

According to BCA’s Business Expectations Survey conducted in November, businesses generally plan to increase investment in the coming months. However, this represents a decline since July as the number of businesses planning to cut investment spending has grown, and the number planning to increase it has fallen. Investment plans could moderate even further as there have been two more rate hikes—bringing the target rate to 4.25%—since the survey was conducted.

Alberta Retail Sales


This report is produced by and the property of the Business Council of Alberta. For more information, please contact:

Mike Holden, Vice President, Policy & Chief Economist
Twitter: @MHoldenAB

Media Inquiries: media@businesscouncilab.com

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