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)

Chart 1: Multi-unit construction dips after surging in May - Alberta Housing Starts in 10,000+ Centres, by Type (SAAR)
Source: Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation

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.

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Archive: Weekly Economic Review


Issues prior to 2018

Archive: Weekly Economic Indicators at a Glance


Issues prior to 2018


Contact for the Economic Review

Daniel Letcher, 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)