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A Light at the End of the Pipeline? The 2018-19 Metropolitan Outlook for Edmonton and Calgary

The Conference Board of Canada, October 25, 2018
Recorded Webinar by
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Calgary and Edmonton’s economies have returned to their pre-recession levels, but growth is moderating from the strong rebound in 2017. Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth is on track to come in around 2 per cent in both cities in 2018, with a similar expansion in the cards for 2019. Moreover, there is a significant downside risk to this already moderate outlook if pipeline expansion projects fail to get the green light.

Webinar Highlights

Only The Conference Board of Canada has the breadth, experience and expertise to provide you with the macroeconomic fundamentals in Alberta, Calgary and Edmonton. Join Alan Arcand, Associate Director of the Conference Board’s Centre for Municipal Studies, for this 60-minute session covering the drivers of growth—commodity prices, energy demand, exchange rates, housing markets and consumer trends. This live webinar is a must for anyone who does business in Alberta’s two major urban centres, including: business planners and strategists, economists, controllers, financial forecasters and business analysts, market and industry analysts, marketing and sales professionals, and policymakers.

During this webinar, Alan will highlight:

  • Heightened risk to the energy forecast:The delays in pipeline expansion projects presents a significant downside risk to Alberta outlook and that of its major cities. Although the worldwide price of oil has risen steadily for more than a year, Western Canada Select oil price has been selling at a steep discount to the West Texas Intermediate price.
  • Consumer spending growth slows: Despite stronger employment growth, consumers will not keep up the pace of spending seen last year.
  • Construction: Calgary and Edmonton’s housing markets remain broadly oversupplied, and builders have responded by cutting housing starts in 2018. Calgary’s downtown is also struggling with very high office market vacancy rates. As such, construction output is on track to fall for the fourth consecutive year in both cities in 2018, before a modest rebound in 2019.
  • Labour markets gain ground: The unemployment rate has moved below 7 per cent in Edmonton and below 8 per cent in Calgary, and the jobless rate in both cities should fall further to 6 per cent by 2022.

About Alan

Photo of Alan ArcandAlan Arcand oversees the Centre’s forecasts of 29 Canadian census metropolitan areas. He also manages many of the group’s contract research projects, which include conducting studies that measure the fiscal capacity of cities, economic impact analyses, and medium and long-term economic forecasts.

Alan obtained his M.A. in economics from Queen’s University and his B.A. in international relations from the University of Windsor. He has been with the Conference Board since 2000.

About the Centre for Municipal Studies

Since 1997, The Centre for Municipal Studies has produced quarterly forecast for Canada’s Census Metropolitan Areas. In recent years, the Centre has expanded beyond its days as an economic forecasting group. While keeping a strong economic component, the Centre now encompasses all the socio-economic factors necessary to enable a city to become dynamic, prosperous and attractive to new business opportunities and a skilled workforce.

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