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 (July 13, 2018) (PDF, 139 KB)
See below for highlights from the publication.
Pullback after May spike in Alberta housing starts
Housing starts: first half of the year tracking close to 2017 levels
- After surging to a two-and-a-half year high, housing starts fell back in June.
- Housing starts in Alberta came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 26,100 units, down from 35,700 in the previous month.
- Starts declined for all types of housing and in all regions across the province, but were most pronounced in multi-unit construction (Chart 1) and in Calgary.
- Housing starts through the first 6 months have averaged 27,800, roughly in line with 2017 levels, which were lifted by rebuilding in Fort McMurray.
Chart 1: Multi-unit construction dips after surging in May
Alberta Housing Starts in 10,000+ Centres, by Type (SAAR)
New Housing Price Index: new home prices hold steady
- New housing prices remain stable in Alberta. For the second month in a row, the new housing price index (NHPI) was unchanged in May.
- Compared to a year ago, the NHPI was slightly lower (-0.1% year-over-year or y/y) as prices declined for the house-only component while partially offset by higher land prices.
Building permits: intentions edge up
- Construction permits issued by Alberta municipalities rose modestly after declining in the previous month.
- The value of building permits in Alberta edged up 1.4% m/m to $1.2 billion in May, largely boosted by multi-unit intentions which set a 17-month high in March.
- The gain was further supported by increases in commercial and industrial structures.
- These gains were partially offset by lower construction intentions for single detached homes and a drop in institutional and governmental permits, which have eased from elevated levels over the past 3 years.
- Through the first 5 months of 2018, building permits were up 2.7% from the same period last year, lifted by a pickup in multi-unit and commercial intentions.
Business formations up year-over-year
- Incorporations in the province remained above last year’s levels. There was an average of 3,658 businesses formed in the 3-month period ending in June.
- While formations have eased since hitting a 3-year high in February, they continue to exceed (+1.4% y/y) last year’s level.
- Overall in the first half of 2018, incorporations were up 1.8% over the same period last year.
Monetary policy report: Bank of Canada raises target rate
- The Bank of Canada (BoC) raised its key policy rate after remaining on the sidelines since January 2018.
- In a widely anticipated move, the Bank raised the overnight rate by 25 basis points to 1.5% as headline and core inflation remain close to the 2.0% target and the Canadian economy continues to operate close to capacity.
- While trade-related uncertainties have increased, Canadian economic growth is expected to be 2.0% in 2018 and average 2.1% in 2019 and 2020, similar to the outlook in April.
- Despite downside risks, the Bank indicated that further rate increases will likely be warranted to maintain a hold on inflation.
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 (July 13, 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.
Download data tables: Weekly Economic Indicators (July 13, 2018) (XLSX, 70 KB)
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Archive: Weekly Economic Review
- July 6, 2018: Alberta jobs continue to rise (PDF, 150 KB)
- June 29, 2018: Economic activity holds steady (PDF, 602 KB)
- June 22, 2018: Inflation and retail sales up with gasoline prices (PDF, 232 KB)
- June 15, 2018: Population growth accelerates (PDF, 232 KB)
- June 8, 2018: Alberta labour market moves ahead (PDF, 227 KB)
- June 1, 2018: Alberta activity reaches post-recession high (PDF, 239 KB)
- May 25, 2018: New housing investment continues to recover (PDF, 261 KB)
- May 18, 2018: Manufacturing gaining ground (PDF, 228 KB)
- May 11, 2018: Labour market holding steady (PDF, 605 KB)
- May 4, 2018: Alberta growth highest among provinces (PDF, 240 KB)
- April 27, 2018: Alberta earnings glide higher in February (PDF, 170 KB)
- April 20, 2018: Manufacturing remains strong (PDF, 241 KB)
- April 13, 2018: Alberta’s housing starts improve (PDF, 250 KB)
- April 6, 2018: Unemployment rate continues to fall (PDF, 266 KB)
- March 29, 2018: Activity index rising to start 2018 (PDF, 152 KB)
- March 23, 2018: Retail activity hits a new high (PDF, 256 KB)
- March 16, 2018: Alberta’s manufacturing strong start to 2018 (PDF, 154 KB)
- March 9, 2018: Unemployment rate continues to move lower (PDF, 248 KB)
- March 2, 2018: Alberta activity strong in 2017 (PDF, 129 KB)
- February 23, 2018: Earnings recover in 2017 (PDF, 245 KB)
- February 16, 2018: Strong momentum for manufacturing sector (PDF, 153 KB)
- February 9, 2018: Employment eases in January (PDF, 250 KB)
- February 2, 2018: Activity in the province edges up (PDF, 236 KB)
- January 26, 2018: Earnings hold on to recent gains (PDF, 269 KB)
- January 19, 2018: Manufacturing shipments continue to rise (PDF, 237 KB)
- January 12, 2018: Oil production continues to grow (PDF, 274 KB)
- January 5, 2018: Strong gain in employment to end 2017 (PDF, 171 KB)
Issues prior to 2018
- 2004 (starts November 19, 2004)
- 2000 - 2004 (to November 12, 2004)
Archive: Weekly Economic Indicators at a Glance
- July 6, 2018 (PDF, 246 KB)
- June 29, 2018 (PDF, 246 KB)
- June 22, 2018 (PDF, 246 KB)
- June 15, 2018 (PDF, 246 KB)
- June 8, 2018 (PDF, 246 KB)
- June 1, 2018 (PDF, 246 KB)
- May 25, 2018 (PDF, 246 KB)
- May 18, 2018 (PDF, 246 KB)
- May 11, 2018 (PDF, 246 KB)
- May 4, 2018 (PDF, 246 KB)
- April 27, 2018 (PDF, 300 KB)
- April 20, 2018 (PDF, 316 KB)
- April 13, 2018 (PDF, 298 KB)
- April 6, 2018 (PDF, 314 KB)
- March 29, 2018 (PDF, 315 KB)
- March 23, 2018 (PDF, 317 KB)
- March 16, 2018 (PDF, 316 KB)
- March 9, 2018 (PDF, 316 KB)
- March 2, 2018 (PDF, 338 KB)
- February 23, 2018 (PDF, 338 KB)
- February 16, 2018 (PDF, 331 KB)
- February 9, 2018 (PDF, 331 KB)
- February 2, 2018 (PDF, 328 KB)
- January 26, 2018 (PDF, 254 KB)
- January 19, 2018 (PDF, 251 KB)
- January 12, 2018 (PDF, 253 KB)
- January 5, 2018 (PDF, 281 KB)
Issues prior to 2018
Contact for the Economic Review
Daniel Letcher, Economist
Alberta Treasury Board and Finance
Contact for the Indicators at a Glance
Bijon Brown, Economist
Alberta Treasury Board and Finance