Canada's economy grew by 1.3% last year, but many provinces grew by more

Canada's economy expanded by 1.3 per cent in 2016, as strong growth in British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba and P.E.I. was offset by Alberta and Saskatchewan, which contracted for the second straight year.

Two prairie provinces have now contracted for two years in a row for the first time in more than a decade

While most provinces saw their economies grow last year, Alberta and Saskatchewan both contracted for the second year in a row. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

Canada's economy expanded by 1.3 per cent in 2016, as strong growth in British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba and P.E.I. was offset by Alberta and Saskatchewan, whose economies contracted for the second straight year.

Statistics Canada reported Monday that eight provinces and two territories saw their real Gross Domestic Product (or GDP) expand last year. The only exceptions were Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories.

British Columbia led the country for the second straight year as the province's economy grew by 3.7 per cent, up from 3.1 per cent in 2015. Oil and gas and real estate were sources of strength, while engineering and manufacturing declined.

Ontario came next at 2.6 per cent growth, the same level as seen in 2015. The service sector was a particular source of strength in that province.

Manitoba's economy, meanwhile, expanded by 2.4 per cent, faster than the 2.1 per cent pace seen the previous year.

Prince Edward Island's economy grew by 2.4 per cent, its strongest level in ten years, as most sectors of the economy expanded.

The economy of Newfoundland and Labrador expanded by 1.9 per cent last year, reversing a decline in 2015 of almost the same amount.

Quebec's economy grew 1.7 per cent in 2016, following a 1.2 per cent increase the year before.

New Brunswick's economy grew by 1.4 per cent last year, down from 2.1 per cent in 2015. 

And Nova Scotia's economy grew by just 0.9 per cent, slightly lower than 2015's pace.

On the negative side, Alberta's economy shrank by 3.8 per cent in 2016, worse than 2015's 3.7 per cent contraction. The last time GDP fell for two consecutive years in Alberta occurred in 1982 and 1983, the data agency noted.

And Saskatchewan's economy shrank by one per cent last year, slightly better than the 1.3 per cent contraction seen in 2015. This was the first time since 2001 and 2002 that GDP has declined for two consecutive years in the province, Statscan said.

As for the territories, Yukon bounced back from a six per cent contraction in 2015 with an 8.2 per cent expansion last year. And Nunavut's economy expanded by 3.9 per cent in 2016 following a 1.2 per cent gain in 2015.

The economy of the Northwest Territories, meanwhile, just barely shrank, by 0.1 per cent last year. The main culprit was a more than 50 per cent decline in engineering construction following the completion of the Gahcho Kué diamond mine.


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