The past few years have been quite difficult for many Albertans – especially those in the oil and gas industry who have found themselves laid off for an indefinite amount of time.
Fortunately, it seems that the tables are slowly beginning to turn for the better, as predicted by ATB Financial’s Alberta Economic Outlook. Here are some indicators to lead us to think so.
No other province in Canada is affected by energy prices as much as Alberta. With the world’s third largest oil reserves – at 166 billion barrels (2014) – even the slightest change for a barrel of oil can make or break government revenues and company profits.
Lately, there’s been a slight increase in energy prices. Furthermore, with more confidence that pipelines – specifically the Keystone XL – will get built in the near future, some of the sentiment within Alberta’s petroleum industry has been lifted.
This should cause new investment into projects and increased employment all around the table, although total investment levels are going to remain much lower than those seen between 2010 and 2014. ATB Financial predicts that oil prices should average at $USD 55 throughout the year.
Agriculture, Agri-Food & Tourism
It’s predicted that the agriculture, agri-food and tourism industries may hit all-time record levels in 2017. Despite the uneasiness surrounding lower beef prices and bovine tuberculosis, feedstocks such as barley, canola and wheat are predicted to be stable throughout the year and balance out such challenges.
Tourism may very well experience another record-setting year in 2017. Canada’s dollar remains relatively weak as it goes into its 1550th birthday. The Federal Government has made entrance to all national parks free throughout 2017, making a trip to Canada’s great outdoors cheaper for travelers from abroad.
Other Highlights for 2017
- Modest GDP growth of 2.2 percent
- Drilling is expected to increase between 5 and 10 percent
- Alberta’s forestry sector had a strong 2016 and continues to stay strong this year
- Last year finished off strong with 27,000 home starts (seasonally adjusted, annualized rate)
- Employment opportunities are expected to rise by summer time
No one knows for sure what the rest of 2017 has in store for Alberta’s economy. Nonetheless, ATB Financial’s insight is much appreciated in a province that has been hit hard over the past few years by slumping energy prices and change in governments – both on the provincial and federal levels.
See more articles relating to the Economy of Calgary, Alberta and Canada as a whole today.