April 20, 2022

Alberta is poised for the biggest turnaround in economic growth in Canada, but challenges persist

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 2022—Key Insights

In our previous update, we reported that going into 2022, Alberta’s economy was on the rebound: employment levels were near pre-COVID levels, business leaders were optimistic, commodity prices were high, and there was positive activity in new home builds.

Coming in to the second quarter of 2022, this rebound has held steady. In fact, Alberta is poised for the biggest turnaround in economic growth in Canada, and there are many signs for continued optimism.

However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing conflict has formed new concerns for the supply and affordability of energy and food as well as the long-term impact on international trade relationships and the role of Canada (and Alberta) going forward.

Key opportunities for Alberta: ensuring Albertans are skilled to succeed and increasing the share of capital investment in the province to drive future growth and innovation.

Report Highlights:

Several indicators show positive signs of economic growth including continued high commodity prices, dropping of COVID restrictions and increase in hiring in impacted sectors like food and accommodation and retail, and notably, a net increase in interprovincial migration. For the second quarter in a row, more Canadians are choosing to live in Alberta: 4,500 more people moved to Alberta than left the province in Q3, and 3,500 more in Q4.

Amidst this strong recovery, decreasing incomes and rising prices are straining household budgets in Alberta. Years of weak income growth and debt accumulation mean that individual Albertans are falling behind more than those in any other province.

Beyond the immediate and devastating humanitarian impact, the war in Ukraine has created a rippling economic impact across the globe, putting both the affordability and security of goods such as energy and food at risk. Additionally, the conflict has brought international trade relationships and dependencies into sharp focus and what the future of these trade relationships looks like.

Nearly three-quarters of businesses plan to hire over the next year, a positive sign. However, there are still many Albertans on the sidelines of the labour force, indicating a continued skills mismatch, and the long-term growth strategy of the province will require ensuring Albertans have the skills to succeed.

Venture capital investment was an encouraging story in 2021 and continuing to raise the share of investment in Alberta (currently at 4% in Canada) is a huge opportunity to generate prosperity in an innovation-driven economy.

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

Business Council of Alberta. Spring 2022.
Alberta Snapshot: A Quarterly Economic Update for Alberta.

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