Job growth on the upswing, GDP improves, population growth leads nation, Heritage Fund swells and deficit lower than forecast

Mario ToneguzziThe Alberta government says the provincial economy is in recovery and it’s pointing to some positive numbers and trends to indicate that.

“Our government has been clear – we are going to have the backs of Albertans. That’s why we made sure to invest in the services families need while keeping a steady hand guiding the province out of this recession,”said Joe Ceci, president of Treasury Board and minister of Finance, in releasing the latest update for the government’s fiscal year ending March 31.

“We know that we still have work to do, but we will not let up until all Albertans feel the economic recovery. We are growing an economy that is built to last,” Ceci said.

Here are some important numbers cited in the government’s update:

  • The Alberta economy grew by 4.9 per cent in 2017-18. Alberta’s economy is expected to expand by 2.7 per cent this year.
  • In 2017, Alberta’s economy recovered about two-thirds of the losses experienced during the recession.
  • Alberta added 90,000 full-time jobs last year. The number of employed people in Alberta reached 2.3 million in December, marking a full recovery of jobs lost during the recession.
  • Alberta’s employment rate was just above 67 per cent at the end of 2017, and has remained at that level, leading all provinces.
  • At 1.4 per cent, Alberta’s population is once again growing faster than the national average.
  • In 2017-18, Alberta’s net debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio was six per cent, with the next closest province more than twice as high at 15 per cent, and most provinces above 30 per cent.
  • The Alberta government has net assets totalling $29.7 billion.
  • The Alberta Heritage Savings Fund’s book value was $15.6 billion, an increase of $230 million from March 31, 2017.
  • Current debt for the province is $43.4 billion.
  • The deficit of $8 billion was $2.5 billion less than was forecast in the spring 2017 budget, thanks in large part to higher oil prices.

Respected business writer Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.

albertaThe views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

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