Alberta’s economy is more than just back on its feet, it’s about to run faster than any other region in Canada.
Gross domestic product in the western province will rise by 2.9 percent this year, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. That matches forecasts for neighboring British Columbia, and in 2018 Alberta comes out on top with a 2.4 percent expansion that would be tops among Canada’s 10 provinces.
“Everyone should feel good about it, not just Alberta,” Bank of Nova Scotia deputy chief economist Brett House told Bloomberg late last week. “The Canadian economy is firing on all cylinders.”
Those gains include an energy industry where oil and gas drilling is rising again as companies lowered their break-even costs. To date, the average number of active Canadian oil rigs is nearly double what it was a year ago, and Alberta construction is also being aided by rebuilding after wildfires last year.
The full recovery in Alberta still has some ways to go. Even if output grows as economists expect in 2017, the province’s gross domestic product would remain about five percent lower than its peak in 2014, before oil prices collapsed.
Alberta’s growth prospects are more stable now that companies have made some progress in competing with the shale boom in the US, economists said. That tougher competition also means that the boom times that drew tens of thousands of workers from across Canada probably won’t return soon, says Brendan LaCerda at Moody’s Analytics.
“They tumbled so hard and they are bouncing back now,” LaCerda told Bloomberg. “They can throw a small party, the worst is over.”