Pandemic and Oil Collapse Lead to Surging Deficits: Alberta’s Two-Year Outlook—September 2020

The Conference Board of Canada, 14 pages, September 29, 2020
Issue briefing
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This quarterly economic forecast for the province of Alberta examines the economic outlook for the province, including gross domestic product (GDP), output by industry and labour market conditions.

Document Highlights

  • The provincial deficit will swell from $7 billion to an estimated $24 billion this year, as revenues dry up and the United Conservative Party government provides economic aid packages.
  • Employment will fall 6.9 per cent this year, but Alberta’s economic recovery is under way. The job losses are forecast to be recouped in full by the end of 2021.
  • Global benchmark crude prices won’t reach their pre-COVID levels until 2022, as sky-high inventories will empty at only a sluggish rate. Alberta’s oil and gas industry won’t be eager to invest until late 2022.
  • The number of active oil rigs remains dismal. But oil sands producers, which account for the vast majority of the province’s oil production, will reboot production at shut-in operations over the remainder of 2020.
  • The Keystone XL project continues, with construction begun on select routes that have received the necessary permits. U.S. President Donald Trump has issued a permit to increase the flow of oil through the Keystone Pipeline’s current infrastructure.

Table of Contents

Key findings

Alberta snapshot


Consumer outlook

Investment outlook

Government outlook

Trade and energy outlook

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