Latest Economic Review

Download the complete report: Economic Review (November 2, 2018) (PDF, 682 KB)

See below for highlights from the publication.

Residential construction activity slumps

Housing starts tumble

  • The pace of housing starts has slowed dramatically over the last two months.
  • Housing starts declined 18.4% month-over-month (m/m) to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 18,049 units in October, a nine-year low.
  • The decline in the last two months has been led by volatile multi-unit starts, which pulled back sharply (Chart 1).

Chart 1: Housing starts drop with multi-unit starts

Alberta housing starts by type, seasonally adjusted annual rate

Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Building permits ease

  • Construction intentions dipped in September after a slight improvement in the previous month.
  • The value of building permits issued declined 5.6% m/m to $1.0 billion, as both residential and non-residential permits eased (Chart 2).

Chart 2: Residential and non-residential building permits decline

Alberta building permits, by type

Source: Alberta Treasury Board and Finance

Drilling activity steady

  • Drilling activity has been steady following a solid summer.
  • There was an average of 138 rigs drilled in Alberta in October, four more than in the previous month and five more than a year ago.
  • While the number of rigs continued to exceed 2017 levels, the growth moderated from over 20% in June to 3.4% in October. Year-to-date, rigs drilling in Alberta were up 7.2%, mainly due to robust year-over-year growth in summer (Chart 3).

Chart 3: Rigs drilling holding steady after a solid summer

Number of rigs drilling in Alberta

Source: Alberta Energy Regulator

Real GDP by Expenditure – Strongest economic growth in the country

  • Alberta led the country in economic growth in 2017.
  • Alberta’s real GDP by expenditure grew by 4.4% to $336.8 billion, following back-to-back declines in the previous two years.
  • Growth was driven by exports which surged more than 8% to surpass the pre-recession peak. Household spending (+3.2%) and government expenditure (+2.3%) also contributed to growth.
  • Investment remained muted in 2017, as a gain in residential investment was offset by slightly lower business and government investment (Chart 4).

Chart 4: Rebound in 2017 led by exports and consumption

Contribution to Alberta’s real GDP growth

Source: Statistics Canada

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 the Economic Indicators at a Glance  (November 9, 2018)(PDF, 723 KB).

Data tables

The following file contains data in the tables and charts of the weekly economic publications, and is updated every Friday afternoon.

Download the data tables economic publications (November 9, 2018) (XLSX, 69 KB)

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Archive: Economic Review


Issues prior to 2018

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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)

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)