Weekly 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 (May 25, 2018) (PDF, 235 KB)
See below for highlights from the publication.
New housing investment continues to recover
New housing investment: gains continue in March
- Investment in new housing construction increased for the second month in a row, rising 0.5% month-over-month (m/m) in March.
- The monthly increase was driven by investment in row units, which have been strong throughout the winter, and a modest uptick in singles.
- Meanwhile, investment in semi-detached and apartment units declined, reversing February’s gains.
- On an annual basis, new housing investment was up 8.2% year-over-year (y/y) driven by solid growth in single-family and row dwellings (Chart 1).
Chart 1: Growth in singles and rows remain robust
Contribution to year-over-year growth in nominal new housing investment
Non-residential building construction price index:
Contractor prices improving
- Construction inflation in Alberta inched higher at the start of 2018.
- In the first quarter, the non-residential building construction price index (NBCPI) grew 0.4% quarter-over-quarter (q/q) (Chart 2), reflecting higher contractor prices for all structure types.
- In particular, construction costs for industrial building rose at the fastest pace since first quarter of 2012 (+0.9%).
- Regionally, the cost of constructing a non-residential building increased in both Calgary and Edmonton.
Chart 2: Construction costs continue to recover
Year-over-year growth in Alberta non-residential building construction prices
Wholesale trade: sales tick down
- After 3 straight monthly gains, wholesale trade sector took a breather in March.
- The value of wholesale trade in Alberta edged down 0.7% m/m to $6.7 billion (Chart 3), reflecting declines in 4 of the 7 subsectors.
- The decline was most pronounced in machinery and equipment, which fell for a second month in a row (-2.6%).
- Personal and household goods also slumped (-5.3%).
- These declines were mitigated by continued gains in building materials and supplies and a pickup in food and beverages and motor vehicles and parts.
- Despite the monthly decline, wholesale trade were up 8.5% in the first quarter over the same period last year, reflecting gains in building materials, machinery and equipment, and farm products.
Chart 3: Wholesale trade hovering near 3-year high
Value and growth of wholesale trade in Alberta (seasonally adjusted)
Employment Insurance claims dip to a 3-year low
- The number of Albertans applying for Employment Insurance (EI) dropped significantly in March.
- The number of EI applications declined 8.9% m/m and 10.4% y/y to 20,970, the lowest level since January 2015 (Chart 4).
- Both initial and renewal claims have declined, as initial claims fell to its historical range but renewal claims remained elevated.
- With fewer claims submitted, the number of Albertans receiving regular EI benefits continued its downward trend that began in late 2016.
Chart 4: Employment Insurance claims approaching pre-recession levels
Seasonally adjusted total employment insurance claims received
International travel: non-resident visitors rise
- International travellers landing in Alberta rose for a second consecutive month in March.
- The number of non-resident visitors entering Canada via Alberta increased 6.7% y/y to 93,839.
- U.S. visitations continued to be strong, posting growth of 9.2%, while overseas visitations saw a modest increase of 1.4%.
Canadian corporate profits near record levels
- Earnings of Canadian corporations bounced back in the first quarter of 2018.
- Corporate profits grew 2.7% to $99.3 billion, reflecting growth in the finance and insurance and manufacturing sectors, with the latter climbing to a new record high.
- Manufacturing profits were driven by petroleum and coal products and primary metal manufacturing.
- The increase in primary metal manufacturing in the quarter was attributable to strong commodities prices.
- The oil and gas extraction industry recorded losses, following a gain in the previous quarter, in part due to a significant widening of the light-heavy oil price differential.
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: complete Weekly Economic Indicators (May 25, 2018) (PDF, 246 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 (May 25, 2018) (XLSX, 70 KB)
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Archive: Weekly Economic Review
- 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
- 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
Bijon Brown, Economist
Alberta Treasury Board and Finance
Contact for the Indicators at a Glance
Robert Van Blyderveen, Economist
Alberta Treasury Board and Finance