Economic outlook predicts Alberta will lead through 2013
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, May 16, 2012 8:33PM EDT
OTTAWA - Resource-rich Western Canada is going from strength to greater strength, according to a new Conference Board forecast on the economy.
The think-tank's spring outlook predicts Alberta will lead the country in economic growth both this year and next with 3.8 and 3.7 per cent gains respectively.
In fact, the four western provinces will claim the top four growth rates in 2012 and 2013, all bettering or equalling the average growth in the country.
And the four provinces will enjoy the lowest levels of unemployment both years.
Meanwhile, the think-tank expects Quebec and the Atlantic provinces to underperform in both years, while Ontario will about match the national growth rate of 2.3 per cent in 2012 and 2.8 per cent in 2013.
The Conference Board says elevated oil prices and expansion in the oilsands projects will be the main drivers of Alberta's economy.
As well, Alberta's economy is benefiting from strong population inflows as workers gravitate to where the action is.
Despite the bigger workforce, the think-tank believes Alberta's unemployment rate will remain the among the lowest in the country at under five per cent both years, more than two points below the national average.
The four Atlantic provinces are projected to continue having the highest level of unemployment in the country, ranging from 8.8 per cent in Nova Scotia this year to 12.4 per cent in Newfoundland.