Alberta is enjoying its recovery from the 2009 recession, thanks to an increase in oil and gas productivity as well as the price of oil nearly tripling from that year. Not quite strong enough to be called a boom, the rebound is healthy enough alright. New drilling is taking place, the unemployment rate is falling and investments in the oilsands continue to increase. The agricultural industry is also seeing a rebound as well, with a marked increase in price and exports of beef.
Alberta’s economy far exceeds that of Ontario and Quebec on home turf, and surges way ahead of the sluggish, uncertain quagmire in the United States. Unfortunately that quagmire is one of the problems that are causing a patch of weakness in Alberta’s economy. China is also seeing a slow in their economy and the equity market is seeing a turn after a 27 month bull-market run. Other challenges, particularly to the oilsands, are from green lobbyists who, along with some Congress members are trying to undo the plans to build pipelines from Alberta to the Texas Gulf and the British Columbia coasts.
The province is also dealing with sizable budget deficits. Also lumber and gas prices are low and housing starts as well as home prices are flat. Migration into the province is just starting to recover. Even so, Craig Wright, who is with RBC Capital Markets, expects Alberta to have Canada’s best growth figures in 2011. Fort McMurray is a positive example of this, with housing starts and other building projects already approved and underway.