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
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.
Download data tables: Weekly Economic Indicators (June 22, 2018) (XLSX, 70 KB)
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Archive: Weekly Economic Review
- 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
- 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
Robert Van Blyderveen, Economist
Alberta Treasury Board and Finance
Contact for the Indicators at a Glance
Bijon Brown, Economist
Alberta Treasury Board and Finance