StatsCan reported that Alberta led the nation in economic growth in 2017

Mario ToneguzziStatistics Canada confirmed on Thursday that Alberta climbed out of the depths of the recession in 2017 with positive economic growth across the province.

And Alberta had the fastest growing economy in the country.

The federal agency reported that real gross domestic product (GDP) in Alberta rose 4.4 per cent in 2017, following declines in 2015 (-3.7 per cent) and 2016 (-4.2 per cent)  in the wake of falling oil prices.

“Exports led the rise in GDP, increasing 8.4 per cent as higher oil prices spurred oil and gas extraction and production in 2017. Household spending rose 3.2 per cent, with higher outlays for both goods (+3.8 per cent) and services (+2.8 per cent),” it said.

Alberta’s economy took a downward slide in 2015 and 2016 after oil prices collapsed in the latter half of 2014, which triggered an economic slowdown across the province and the layoffs of thousands of people.

For the first time since 2010, real gross domestic product rose in every province and territory in 2017. Ontario and Quebec, Canada’s largest provincial economies, both grew 2.8 per cent. Canada’s real GDP rose 3.0 per cent in 2017, following a 1.1 per cent increase in 2016. Final domestic demand rose 3.1 per cent, the fastest pace since 2010, explained Statistics Canada.

“For Canada as a whole, growth in 2017 was primarily driven by a 3.6 per cent rise in household spending, the fastest rate of growth since 2010. Gross fixed capital formation rebounded 3.0 per cent, following a 4.3 per cent decline in 2016. Exports of goods and services to other countries rose 1.1 per cent, while imports increased 4.2 per cent,” it said.

“Spending on durable goods – notably, purchases of motor vehicles and furniture – was up 7.1 per cent in 2017, almost double the growth in the previous year and the highest pace since 2002. Ontario led the growth in outlays for durable goods (+8.4 per cent), followed by British Columbia (+8.3 per cent). Spending on services was also strong in British Columbia (+4.1 per cent) and in Quebec (+3.4 per cent). Newfoundland and Labrador had the lowest growth in household spending on both goods (+0.4 per cent) and services (+1.0 per cent).”

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

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