Every month the Government of Alberta releases an Economic Trends report. The following subsection provides key highlights from this report.
- Alberta’s labour market continues to adjust amid a pickup in population growth. Modest job gains so far this year have been underpinned by continued rotation to full-time work.
- The unemployment rate has come down to a two-year low.
- Year-over year growth in goods exports has moderated from last year’s pace but remains solid, with non-energy exports providing some lift.
- A record level of farm cash receipts in 2017 bodes well for the agricultural sector, while direct international visits into Alberta are boosting the tourism sector.
Key Indicators as of August
Status of Recovery
Alberta’s economy is two years into recovery from one of the worst recessions on record. According to the Alberta Activity Index (AAX), aggregate provincial activity has regained about 80% of peak-to-trough losses as of April. Behind the solid rebound in the headline indicator, the recovery has been uneven, with some segments of the economy further along than others.
% of Recession Losses Regained to-Date (Seasonally Adjusted)
- The labour market continues to improve despite modest gains in headline employment. Though the economy has added only 5,800 jobs since the beginning of the year, full-time positions have increased by more than 29,000.
- The number of unfilled jobs is also on the rise while unemployment and the number of employment insurance beneficiaries have dropped significantly. The unemployment rate has made a dramatic improvement, falling to 6.5% in June.
- Employment surpassed its prerecession peak in December 2017, six months after retail sales recovered. Employment has been supported by the service sector, which was mostly unaffected by the recession and continued to expand throughout 2015 and 2016. Recovered jobs have been in full-time positions. Full-time employment has regained 84% of recessionary losses.
- Though headline employment has fully recovered, many labour market indicators have not. Construction sector employment has been particularly weak, failing to pick up from recessionary levels.
- Ongoing slack in the labour market kept wages flat well into 2017. This, along with a slow recovery in goods sector employment, delayed the recovery in AWE. AWE didn’t start to pickup until last spring (Chart 3). It has regained just over two-thirds of peak-to-trough losses.
Alberta Employment (Seasonally Adjusted)
The labour market is projected to stabilize with moderate, yet steady increases in employment and an unemployment rate near 6%.
Labour market, all industries, Alberta