CALGARY, ALTA. —Greener pastures could be around the corner for Alberta, officials say.
Deron Bilous, Alberta's minister of economic development and trade, has issued a press release noting several economic experts predicting economic growth in the near future.
"Some of Canada's most respected economic experts are forecasting that Alberta will lead the country in economic growth for the next two years," said Bilous. "Bloomberg reported that its survey of economists pegs GDP growth at 2.9 per cent this year and 2.4 per cent in 2018."
He added that the survey follows a TD Economic report predicting GDP growth this year of 3.7 per cent, which is far higher than Alberta's average growth rate of 2.6 per cent between 2005 and 2015. The reports have cited Alberta's intense infrastructure spending and the increased investor confidence that comes with pipeline approvals, as contributing factors to the change in economic conditions.
"Albertans have no control over world oil prices, but strategic investments from government and industry have helped cushion the blow and stimulate growth," noted Bilous. "Nearly 49,000 jobs were created here over the last year. Alberta also continues to have the highest employment rate in the country and the highest weekly earnings."
The province explained there are other signs of recovery, including increased consumer spending. Retail sales in Alberta were at $6.8 billion in May – higher than the pre-recession peak of $6.7 billion seen in October 2014.
"In the first four months of 2017, Alberta accounted for more than 73 per cent of Canada's entire exports increase compared with the same period in 2016," Bilous stated. "Statistics Canada's latest GDP report shows Alberta has already begun bolstering the economic performance of the entire country."