Latest Economic Trends

Download the complete report: Economic Trends (September 2018)
Published September 28, 2018 (PDF, 479 KB)

See below for highlights from the publication.

September 2018 Economic Trends

  • There’s some renewed momentum in Alberta’s economy.
  • Job growth has picked up on the back of strong private sector hiring.
  • Population growth also continues to accelerate, while home sales have been improving.
  • On the business side, higher prices and growing production have lifted manufacturing shipments and energy exports closer to pre-recession levels.
  • Meanwhile, rising energy prices are keeping consumer inflation elevated.

Household sector

Population growth picking up

  • Alberta’s population continues to grow at a faster rate. It increased to 4,307,110 as of July 1, 2018, adding 18,783 people (+0.44%) from the previous quarter.
  • On a year-over-year (y/y) basis, growth accelerated from a low of 1.1% in the same quarter last year to 1.5%, the strongest growth in 3 years.

Employment growth accelerates

  • Job growth in the province has picked up following moderation in the first half of the year.
  • With 16,200 jobs added in August, the year-over-year employment growth accelerated to 2.3%, lifted by a surge in private sector hiring (Chart 1).

Chart 1: Employment growth surges with large gain in private sector jobs
Year-over-year growth in employment and monthly growth in private sector employment

Chart 1: Employment growth surges with large gain in private sector jobs - Year-over-year growth in employment and monthly growth in private sector employment
Source: Statistics Canada

Housing sales back on track

  • Alberta’s housing market continues to improve.
  • Home sales increased for the fourth month in a row in August, following a slump in the first quarter due mainly to mortgage rule changes.
  • Sales in nearly all regions have returned to 2017 levels with the exception of Calgary, where sales remain muted following strong gains in early 2017.

Energy prices keep inflation high

  • Consumer prices continue to move higher, lifted by rising energy prices.
  • Significantly higher gasoline and electricity prices pushed inflation to a four-year high of 3.5% in July before pulling back to 3.1% in August.
  • Core inflation (excluding food and energy) has also accelerated to 2.2% in August from just around 1% in January.

Business sector

Manufacturing sales build momentum

  • Higher prices are supporting manufacturing shipments, which are gathering strength (Chart 2).
  • Factory sales have surged since April to near pre-recession levels, lifting year-over-year growth to 13.7% in July and year-to-date growth to 6.5%.
  • Petroleum and coal products are leading the way, bolstered by higher prices and a ramp up in production at refineries following maintenance-related shutdowns.

Chart 2: Manufacturing sales gathering momentum
Year-over-year growth and value of Alberta manufacturing shipments

Chart 2: Manufacturing sales gathering momentum - Year-over-year growth and value of Alberta manufacturing shipments
Source: Statistics Canada

Latest InFocus

The InFocus section covers a relevant economic topic in more depth.

Resurgence of Crude by Rail

Canadian shipments of crude oil by rail have once again surged to record levels following a subdued period. Recently completed oil sands projects and expansions have come online. With additional production exceeding takeaway pipeline capacity out of Western Canada, this is leading producers to increasingly rely on rail to get their oil to market.

Download the complete report: InFocus (September 2018)
Published September 28, 2018 (PDF, 479 KB)

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Contact

Contact for Economic Trends

Kathleen Macaspac, Senior Manager, Economic Forecasting and Analysis
Alberta Treasury Board and Finance
Phone: 780-427-8841
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: Kathleen.Macaspac@gov.ab.ca

Contact for InFocus

Daniel Letcher, Economist
Alberta Treasury Board and Finance
Phone: 780-427-8845
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: Daniel.Letcher@gov.ab.ca