Agriculture, tourism and transportation are all main components in Alberta’s economic growth for 2018 as the energy sector keeps recovering.
The Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce hosted their 18th Annual Business Education Conference with one of the main focuses being on Alberta’s economy. Chief Economist with ATB Financial Todd Hirsch was the keynote speaker who presented five major trends in the market economy for 2018, including pipelines.
He says that the province’s economy still relies heavily on oil and if it can’t be transported through pipelines the economy will not grow as much as people want it to.
“If we’re not unable to move those hydrocarbons to the buyers who want to buy it, that restricts growth and it sends a message to investors that Canada’s not a great place in which to invest.”
In June 2014, the West Texas Intermediate price for a barrel of oil was just over $100 and it took a huge fall in the beginning of 2016 to around $30. These days the prices are around $60 a barrel, which is still not high enough to increase foreign investment, according to Hirsch.
ATB has predicted Alberta’s GDP growth to increase by 2.8 per cent for 2018. However, in previous years, for example 2013 the number was much higher at 5 per cent. Hirsch says that the factors contributing to economic growth for the province are smaller components that together will do well for both Alberta and Saskatchewan’s economies.
“With the energy sector being stable, not producing a lot of growth. That moderate rate of growth 2.5 maybe 3 per cent that’s coming from other sectors like agriculture and Agrifoods, very important for the Lloydminster region.”
He adds that the energy sector has become the backbone for Alberta’s economy and not the engine as it once was in creating jobs and investments.