Calgary to have Canada's fastest growing economy this year, Conference Board says
Report forecasts Calgary's GDP will increase by 4.6% and Edmonton's by 3.9%
Alberta's economy is bouncing back, according to a new report that forecasts Calgary will be the fastest growing metropolitan area in Canada this year.
The Conference Board of Canada's latest report, Metropolitan Outlook: Autumn 2017, found Calgary's GDP is on track to increase by 4.6 per cent this year, making it the fastest growing Canadian city among the 13 economies studied.
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Edmonton wasn't far behind, with a projected 3.9 per cent GDP increase this year.
"The worst appears to be over for Calgary and Edmonton," said Alan Arcand, associate director of the Centre for Municipal Studies, which was involved in producing the study.
"But with oil prices struggling to rise above $50 US per barrel, Edmonton and Calgary should expect to see more moderate growth in 2018."
The report cited the housing market's recovery for growth in the finance, insurance and real estate industries, and credited job gains for boosting the wholesale and retail sectors.
Growth to slow next year
Slight increases in oil prices spurred some renewed investments and increased drilling, the report found, but companies are likely to limit large-scale investments if prices, as projected, stay well below pre-2015 highs.
The outlook predicts growth will slow next year to 2.1 per cent in Calgary, and 2.2 per cent in Edmonton.
Job growth is predicted to slow as well, from 2.7 per cent in 2017 to 1.1 per cent in 2018.
The report also forecast Calgary's unemployment rate will drop from last year's two-decade high of 9.4 per cent to 7.7 per cent by next year, leaving it well above the current national average of 6.2 per cent, according to Statistics Canada.
Halifax lags behind
Rising commodities prices also helped boost Regina and Saskatoon's economies, by 2.9 per cent and 3.6 per cent respectively.
Consumer spending was credited for boosting Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Quebec City, Vancouver, and Montreal's gross domestic products by 2.9 per cent or more.
Meanwhile in Halifax, a decline in the offshore natural gas sector left the city lagging far behind the rest of Canada with growth of just 1.4 per cent.