Alberta to lead country in economic growth in 2017: Conference Board of Canada

In its spring Provincial Outlook report released Monday, the Conference Board predicts Alberta with see an increase in its GDP of 3.3 per cent — a considerable swing after contracting by 3.8 per cent in 2015-2016.

'The forecast for Alberta is bright, but is improving from a weak starting point'

Alberta's economy continues to recover from its worst recession in more than 50 years, but full recovery will take time, says the Conference Board of Canada in its spring Provincial Outlook. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

Alberta is expected to lead the country in economic growth this year, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

In its spring Provincial Outlook report released Monday, the conference board predicts Alberta with see an increase in its GDP by 3.3 per cent — a considerable swing after contracting by 3.8 per cent in 2015-2016.

"The forecast for Alberta is bright, but is improving from a weak starting point," the report said.

The province is still in the process of recovering from its worst recession in more than 50 years. The report says while full recovery will take time, recent economic indicators are encouraging.

"Economic conditions in Alberta are far from being back to normal, but labour markets have turned around as public sector hiring has been strong and jobs in the mining and manufacturing sector have made a comeback," the report said.

Oil price stability diminishing

The Conference Board said in addition to the labour market, Alberta has made improvements in consumer demand and the housing sector. 

Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci said he's happy with the report.

"It shows jobs are returning. Confidence is returning to this province. Recovery is in process, so that is good news," he said.

Despite the positive outlook, the report says the recent stability in oil prices is diminishing.

"While oil prices have stabilized since last fall and have been trading in a range between $45 US and $50 US per barrel for West Texas Intermediate crude, they are not expected to gain much more over the next year and a half."

Alberta's GDP is expected to remain strong into 2018, with a predicted growth of 2.4 per cent.