March 1 Economic Briefing


March 1 Economic Briefing

Posted on Thursday March 01, 2018 at 03:24PM

Welcome to the latest Economic briefing, in order to aid you and your industry in your decision making process when it comes to developing in Alberta's Industrial Heartland, and Alberta in general. The full economic report, with charts and related news links, is also available for download from the Alberta Treasury Board and Finance.

Economic Activity
The Alberta Activity Index (AAX) was up 3.7% year-over-year (y/y) in November and is up 5.2% year-to-date. Alberta’s real GDP by expenditure fell by 3.7% in 2016, the largest drop among the provinces for the second year in a row.

Alberta’s population was 4,306,039 as of October 1, 2017, an increase of 1.3% from the year prior. Canada’s
population grew 1.3% from a year ago.

Net migration to Alberta was 11,106 in the third quarter of 2017. During this time, Alberta welcomed 10,363 net international migrants, while there was a net inflow of interprovincial migrants (+743) for the first time in eight quarters.

The economy lost 5,900 jobs in January, as declines in part-time positions offset gains in full-time. Despite the monthly drop, employment rose 2.0%  y/y, reflecting employment gains in both the goods (+6.0% y/y) and services (+0.7% y/y) sectors.

Unemployment Rate
Alberta’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.0% in January. Canada’s unemployment rate ticked up 0.1 percentage points to 5.9%.

Rigs Drilling
The number of active rigs in Alberta averaged 197 in January, down 0.9% y/y. The average rig utilization rate was 47%, up from 44% a year

The annual Inflation rate in Alberta dipped by 0.6 percentage point to 1.4% y/y in January, reflective of an annual decline in natural gas prices. Excluding food and energy prices, core inflation also fell by 0.1 percentage point to 1.0% y/y.

Average Weekly Earnings 

Average weekly earnings (AWE) in Alberta ticked up by 0.1% m/m in December to $1,149. Earnings increased 1.2% y/y as gains in services sector earnings more than offset declines in the goods sector.

Retail Sales 
Alberta retail sales fell 0.5% m/m to $6.7 billion in December. Retail sales are up 4.7% y/y, the thirteenth consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Housing Starts

Alberta housing starts increased 8.8% m/m in January to 25,365 units (annualized). Housing starts were up 36% y/y, with gains in both multi-family (+73% y/y) and single-family starts (+17% y/y).

New Housing Price Index
In December, Alberta’s New Housing Price Index (NHPI) ticked up by 0.1% y/y. The house-only component was unchanged,
while land prices were up (+0.3% y/y).

Building Permits
Alberta building permits were up 36% y/y in December to $1.1 billion, led by residential permits (+63% y/y). Non-residential permits (+1.9% y/y) was also higher than a year ago.

Author: Lamont County Now


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