Alberta’s GDP will be hardest hit in 2020, expected to drop by 11.3 per cent: Conference Board of Canada report

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Positive growth is expected for Alberta in 2021, Antunes said, in part due to an increase in consumer spending and consumer confidence. Spending by household is on track to drop 13.6 per cent this year, but bounce back by 7.9 per cent in 2021.

The recovery in consumer spending is dependent on a steady improvement in employment that would help bolster consumer confidence. Consumer confidence in Alberta has rebounded from the lows it reached at the height of the lockdown in April but remains well below the national average, the report found. 

Antunes said he expects the province’s investment on pipelines will help drive the economy forward and stimulate further investment down the road, despite the current downturn in the oil sector.

“We often hear about how Alberta should diversify. I think Albertans need to realize that its hard to diversify when you have such a big contributor to your economy that essentially drives the incomes in Alberta and revenues in Alberta much higher than the rest of the country,” Antunes said. “But the sector goes through peaks and troughs, it is volatile and does have major swings on the economy.”

Across the country, economic recovery is expected to be more prolonged than initially anticipated with pre-pandemic levels not returning until the end of 2021. The country’s GDP in 2020 is expected to drop by 8.2 per cent before a rebound of 6.7 per cent next year.

duscook@postmedia.com

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