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According to ATB Financials Economic Outlook Report, Alberta’s economy is gradually on the rise. The recession has left deep scars, particularly in the energy sector and across the labour market. Oil prices have now stabilized at US$ 48 a barrel, which is commonly referred to as the break-even point for the industry overall. Natural gas prices have been similarly quiet. While employment and drilling have picked up in the recent months, the energy sector will not return as a robust growth engine of the economy this year, however, the sectors such as agriculture and forestry are stable.
With growth in the energy sector and with business gaining faith in the economy, the labour market is showing modest yet encouraging progress. Despite July’s setback, labour market conditions are expected to improve throughout the remainder of the year, causing the unemployment rate to drift lower. We are projecting Alberta’s unemployment rate will average 7.9 per cent this year, a slight decrease from last year’s average of 8.1 per cent.
Alberta’s economy is recovering, but it is not returning to what it looked like in 2014. Instead, the economy is evolving into one that is more diversified, and more typical of other Canadian provinces. It is a slow process and it may be a few more years before we see a full economic recovery.