Major City Insights: Edmonton—May 2022

The Conference Board of Canada, May 6, 2022
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Despite the rise in case counts from both the Omicron and BA.2 variants early in 2022, most Canadian cities have already seen restrictions loosened or dropped. We expect this to aid in the continued recovery of CMA economies across the country this year. It’s especially good news for the travel and tourism markets in each region, which so far have lagged most other industries in returning to their pre-pandemic levels. Still, higher prices and instability in other parts of the world serve as a downside risk to this year’s outlook.

This edition of our Major City Insights provides new forecasts for growth in 13 major cities across Canada as of March 23, 2022.

This forecast focuses on the Edmonton metropolitan economy.

Document Highlights

  • Edmonton’s economy, along with Alberta’s, has been bolstered by rising prices for oil, the commodity that underpins provincial prospects. The removal of COVID-19 public health restrictions is another cause for optimism for many businesses.
  • While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is categorically awful, it has sharply boosted the price of oil. Indeed, the price of West Texas intermediate oil jumped above US$110 per barrel in recent weeks, a striking rise from under US$65 per barrel in early December.
  • COVID-19 has not disappeared, but vaccines have helped to reduce the severity of the disease, and so Alberta removed most public health restrictions on March 1. Edmonton has largely followed the provincial guidelines but continues to require masks on public transit and in health care settings.
  • Edmonton’s real GDP rose 4.8 per cent in 2021, its fastest growth since the oil price collapse in 2014, but still failed to recoup all of its 7.4 per cent loss from 2020.
  • Continued energy sector strength will lift Edmonton’s GDP by 5.6 per cent in 2022, putting it above its pre-pandemic level by this year’s second quarter. A further 4.2 per cent jump is our call for 2023.
  • Local growth will exceed Canada’s forecast GDP growth of 4.1 per cent in 2022 and 3.3 per cent in 2023.
  • Edmonton’s new and existing home markets have strengthened, and signs of improvement are appearing in its office market.

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