Economic Review and Indicators

Economic analysis and key indicators related to Alberta’s economy, labour market and various sectors within the province.

Latest Economic Review

Download: complete Weekly Economic Review (June 22, 2018) (PDF, 232 KB)

See below for highlights from the publication.

Inflation and retail sales up with gasoline prices

Consumer Price Index: energy prices continue to elevate inflation

  • Annual consumer inflation accelerated to the fastest pace in more than 3 years.
  • The consumer price index rose to 2.6% year-over-year (y/y) in May, up from 2.3% in April.
  • Gasoline prices continued to drive inflation higher (+31.6% y/y) as prices rose to the highest level in more than 9 years.
  • While electricity prices pulled back from last month’s recent high, they remained sharply higher than a year ago (+29.0% y/y).
  • Excluding energy, inflation was unchanged at 1.3% y/y.

Retail sales: higher gasoline prices lift retail sales

  • Retail sales edged slightly higher in April. They increased 0.2% month-over-month (m/m) to $6.8 billion as gasoline prices rose to near record levels across the province, which led to a jump in gasoline station sales.
  • Sales excluding gasoline station dipped with seasonally soft sales in most categories.
  • Compared to a year ago, sales were up 2.2% led by ongoing strength in building material and garden equipment dealers (+11.3% y/y) and gasoline stations (+16.5% y/y).
  • The growth in retail sales has eased in 2018 as sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers (-1.6% y/y) have pulled back from 2017 levels, and sales at food and beverage stores (-3.2% y/y) declined.
  • Year-to-date, retail sales are up 2.0%.

Chart 1: Higher gasoline prices lift retail sales at gasoline stations
Year-over-year change in retail sales at gasoline stations and CPI gasoline prices

Chart 1: Higher gasoline prices lift retail sales at gasoline stations: Year-over-year change in retail sales at gasoline stations and CPI gasoline prices.
Source: Statistics Canada

Wholesale trade: sales tick higher

  • After taking a breather in March, Alberta wholesale trade ticked up in April. It increased 0.7% m/m to $6.8 billion as machinery and equipment sales rebounded from 2 consecutive monthly declines.
  • Adding to the gains were food, beverage and tobacco as well as motor vehicle and parts, which hit the highest level since December 2014.
  • Growth was moderated by building materials and supplies, which pulled back from a recent high in March, and weakness in farm products.
  • Annually, wholesale trade remained robust (+6.8% y/y) with 5 of the 7 categories posting solid gains.

Employment Insurance: EI beneficiaries continue to decline

  • The number of Albertans receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits continues to move lower.
  • EI beneficiaries fell 5.1% m/m to 56,320 in April, the lowest level since August 2015.
  • While the number of beneficiaries has fallen, the number of EI applications edged higher (+9.4% m/m), completely reversing the previous months’ drop.
  • Despite the monthly increase, EI claims remain lower than last year’s level (-6.7% y/y).

International travel: visitors to Alberta remain elevated

  • The number of travelers arriving in Alberta remains robust despite a dip in April.
  • The seasonally adjusted number of non-resident visitors entering Canada via Alberta pulled back 3.5% m/m to 90,359 persons.
  • While the number of U.S. visits dropped, non-U.S. visits grew for the third month in a row.
  • Despite the decline, the overall number of visitations remained solid, up 7.5% y/y, with both U.S. and international visitors higher than a year ago.

Latest Economic Indicators at a Glance

The Weekly Economic Indicators at a Glance document provides a quick reference guide to the most important economic indicators. It features several charts comparing related indicators, as well as cross-provincial comparisons. On the last page, it also features a comprehensive data table of economic and demographic indicators, which is a useful reference guide when you need all the numbers quickly.

Download: Weekly Economic Indicators at a Glance (June 22, 2018) (PDF, 245 KB)

Economic Indicators - data tables

The following file contains data in the tables and charts of the Weekly Economic Indicators at a Glance publication, and is updated every Friday afternoon.

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Archive: Weekly Economic Review

2018

Issues prior to 2018

Archive: Weekly Economic Indicators at a Glance

2018

Issues prior to 2018

Contact

Contact for the Economic Review

Robert Van Blyderveen, Economist
Alberta Treasury Board and Finance

Phone: 780-638-5628
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: Robert.Vanblyderveen@gov.ab.ca

Contact for the Indicators at a Glance

Bijon Brown, Economist
Alberta Treasury Board and Finance

Phone: 780-643-1876
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: Bijon.Brown@gov.ab.ca