Statistics Canada released encouraging job numbers for Alberta in July, as the province gained 20,000 full-time roles. On top of that, the Alberta government claimed 180,000 new jobs since the onset of the pandemic, courtesy of its recovery plan.
"Alberta’s economy is well on the road to recovery and diversification. Major banks and think tanks are saying we are leading Canada in economic growth this year and will do so again next year," said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.
RBC predicted 5.9 percent GDP growth for Alberta this year and further reductions in unemployment to 5.6 percent. They add that 2022 could see unemployment dip further to 2.5 percent.
"Strong global demand and prices for agricultural commodities and wood products propelled Alberta’s agri-food sector and lumber industry," said the report on the province's economic rebound. "The housing market got super-hot, igniting residential construction" and "rebounding energy prices boosted the cash flow of oil and gas producers."
ATB Financial said it’s raising its economic outlook in the province this year because of higher-than-expected oil prices, rising vaccination rates and a strong recovery in the US. The bank expects Alberta’s real GDP to grow five percent in 2021, an uptick from an earlier forecast projected 4.1 percent growth. ATB also attributed reviving retail sales to above pre-pandemic levels to Alberta’s economic boom.
Since the province launched its recovery mandate to "build, diversify and create new jobs," the premier claimed 190,000 new jobs were created. "On top of that, the encouraging job’s report by Statistics Canada, a lot of these new jobs are being created by this unprecedented investment in building the architecture of our future economy," said Kenney.
"Our recovery plan is working for Albertans," reiterated Jobs Minister Doug Schweitzer. "With July’s encouraging job numbers, which saw the creation of 20,000 full-time jobs, we see growth and job creation across many sectors of the economy."
He emphasized that that’s what the recovery plan is all about. "Building on our strengths while diversifying for the future."
"Part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan is the largest-ever infrastructure build in Alberta through the $20.3-billion capital plan," said Schweitzer: "That alone is expected to support 90,000 jobs for Albertans when we need them most."
Kenney called it the largest infrastructure plan in Alberta history, building critical projects that include 260 highways and bridges, 68 new and modernized schools, and 23 hospitals and healthcare centres.
He attributed the success of the province’s recovery plan to "cutting taxes and red tape on job creators" and "attracting new investment in areas from hydrogen, to film and television, tech and innovation, agriculture, and so much more."
"We’ve attracted major global companies to either set-up shop in Alberta or to expand their operations here," said Kenney, "companies like HBO, Amazon, the Royal Bank, Mphasis, MGM, [and] Infosys."
Schweitzer added, "In fact, Alberta sees more than 9,000 new jobs from close to $1 billion in new investment from the film and television industry – including from HBO’s The Last of Us, the largest television series production in Canadian history."
He noted another success of Alberta’s Recovery Plan is the Jobs Now program, which trained 22,000 Albertans with skills and put them back to work. "Most leading banks and think tanks are projecting that Alberta will lead Canada in economic growth this year and next," said Kenney, who acknowledged that the first half of 2021 was challenging for many Albertans.
"We are optimistic for the rest of the year, and we are incredibly grateful to all of the business owners that made sacrifices throughout the pandemic," he added.
Caucus Chair Nicholas Milliken praised his government’s commitment to getting Albertans through the worst of the pandemic.
"According to Statistics Canada," he tweeted, "Alberta’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.5 percent in July - the lowest level it has been since before the COVID-19 pandemic."
"This is great news for our province as we continue our recovery," he said. "Jobs and investment are coming back to Alberta."