October 13, 2021

Improved employment recovery breathes life into a strengthening economy, but global and long-term challenges remain

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 Fall 2021—Key Insights

In our last update, we noted that vaccinations were key to Alberta’s recovery, and largely this has held true. Increasing vaccination rates, strong consumer activity, high commodity prices, and the opening of the US land border are positive signs of recovery and opportunity. In fact, Alberta’s employment recovery is now in line with other provinces across Canada.

However, this snapshot also lays bare the continued medium- and longer-term challenges for the province, including global supply chain disruptions, changing skills needs, low capital investment, and more. Addressing these challenges head on and strategically could enable future opportunities.

Report Highlights:

Despite the positive trend in employment recovery, many Albertans are still experiencing unemployment or underemployment. While the official unemployment rate sits at 7.5% as of September 2021 (unadjusted for seasonality), factoring in those who are underemployed (discouraged workers, those awaiting call backs, or those working part-time but would like to work full-time) increases this rate significantly—to 10%. Long-term unemployment is an issue we continue to monitor. Check out our recent paper on the trends and challenges of long-term unemployment for more information.

Mental health is a rising concern. As of the most recent data, one in four Canadians screened positive for at least one mental disorder. This is up from one in five in Fall 2020. The risk is magnified for women and younger and lower-income Canadians, in particular. Check out our recent op-ed on the current mental health crisis for more.

Manufacturing sales continue to grow, and the sector shines brightly in the province’s pathway in recovery. Other positive movements include high commodity prices (especially in oil & natural gas) and strong consumer demand.

Inflation is a growing concern for businesses as the global supply chain continues to experience disruptions, driven largely by a sharp increase in consumer demand for products such as electronics, creating an increase in demand for inputs. This pressure has left some significant shortages in its wake, and these twin issues are among the top concerns for companies around the world.

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

Business Council of Alberta. Fall 2021.
Alberta Snapshot: A Quarterly Economic Update for Alberta.

Share This