Red Deer and District Chamber CEO Rick More is pleased to already feel some positivity in the air. He anticipates some economic recovery for Alberta by the end of 2021. (Advocate file photo).

Red Deer and District Chamber CEO Rick More is pleased to already feel some positivity in the air. He anticipates some economic recovery for Alberta by the end of 2021. (Advocate file photo).

Alberta’s economy is predicted to yo-yo back to partial recovery later this year

Conference Board of Canada predicts most GDP losses of 2020 will be recovered

Alberta stands to make the biggest economic rebound in the country as the pandemic wanes later this year, according to the Conference Board of Canada forecast.

But that’s only because Alberta lost the most GDP (gross domestic product) in 2020.

The good news scenario for the province is certainly tempered by the bad news of last year, acknowledged Red Deer Chamber of Commerce CEO Rick More: “The obvious point here is that we did the worst, so we have the most to gain…

“It’s been so dreary this whole year that we have been looking at the glass half full, but when you look at (climbing) world oil prices and the rise in demand, that’s helping Alberta a lot,” added More.

”Once we get the vaccines and pandemic under control, I think it will lead to longer term growth.”

According to the Conference Board of Canada forecast, Alberta’s vaccine rollout could see “large swaths” of the population vaccinated by mid-year. The optimism that will spring from that, as well as a positive outlook for oil and natural gas prices, and generally healthy household finances, are considered good indicators that Alberta’s economy and labour market will strengthen over 2021.

However, the board believes these positives won’t quite make up for Alberta experiencing the largest decrease in real GDP in the country in 202o with a nearly eight per cent plunge. The predicted rebound of 6.4 per cent in economy activity in 2021 is not anticipated to quite cover last year’s losses.


-Alberta’s economic diversification is already under way: minister

-Business is booming in Red Deer County

“The provinces that recorded the smallest declines in economic activity last year will have weaker recoveries in 2021. Conversely, Alberta will enjoy the largest increase in real GDP in 2021 as its plunge of 7.7 per cent in economic activity last year sets the stage for a stronger rebound,” the board stated.

More thinks Conference Board could be wary in assessing Alberta’s economy by the end of 2021.

He noted rising world oil prices have already exceeded expectations, helping to reduce the forecasted provincial deficit. Also working in Alberta’s favour — as the Conference Board noted — is the U.S. oil production cuts and supply restrictions by OPEC.

Every province is anticipated to sharply rebound in real GDP growth this year, as vaccinations lead to a gradual lifting of provincial restrictions on travel, entertainment and other activities.

More agrees with the Conference Board’s assessment that the economic recovery will receive a boost from “pent-up demand” and that those who managed to keep their jobs during the pandemic have ramped up their savings.

With Alberta’s vaccination program well underway and the weather warming, he’s already feeling more positivity in the air.

“We are just at the starting line. When it rises, there is going to be a stampede. People will want to get back out there… When travel opens up, there is going to be a domino effect.”

Airfares could be higher at first, and not affordable for all, but More believes this climate could present opportunities for more low-cost carriers.

The post-pandemic ground is also expected to shift in the workplace, with more employers reconsidering costly office space after employees have worked from home, and rethinking conventions after the use of Zoom. But More believes people’s mental health and need for social engagement must also be considered in building happy workplaces.

He’s buoyed by the support that local restaurants are receiving from clients who are happy in-person dining has resumed.

Retailers could have a harder time competing with online shopping, which gained popularity during the pandemic. But More believes these business owners will have to change focus to provide what virtual shopping can’t do — give people the communal experience of a farmer’s market, complete with entertainment and specialty shops.

“Those who are quick-off-the-mark (to change) will succeed,” he predicted.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

economic growth

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Alberta vaccine rollout expanding to front-line health-care workers

More than 240,000 eligible health-care workers can begin booking vaccine appointments starting… Continue reading

File photo
The Red Deer Rebels will have three new assistant coaches when the WHL regular season starts on Friday. Brad Flynn (left), will be on the bench alongside fellow assistant Ryan Colville (right) head coach Brent Sutter (middle). (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Sutter steps down as Red Deer Rebels head coach

Red Deer Rebels Owner, GM and head coach Brent Sutter has stepped… Continue reading

Premier Jason Kenney announced $200 million more money that will benefit seniors living in continuing care on Wednesday. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s in-school rapid screening test program expanding

Alberta’s in-school rapid screening test program will expand to as many as… Continue reading

Parents and students learned Tuesday what the coming school year will look like. It's pretty much back to business as usual, said Education Minister Adriana LaGrange. School precautions include frequent cleaning, keeping students in the same groups where possible, planning the school day to allow for physical distancing and staying home when sick. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s largest school board says no to United Conservative draft school curriculum

CALGARY — Alberta’s largest school board says it will not use the… Continue reading

Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan is among those who have signed an open letter criticizing the government’s return to stricter health measures. (Advocate file photo).
Updated: Kenney tells UCP caucus COVID-19 dissent OK, breaking health rules means expulsion

15 MLAs released letter on Wednesday critical of new health restrictions

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches a speaker appear by videoconference during a news conference in Ottawa, Friday, April 9, 2021. Grassroots Liberals have overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution calling on the federal government to develop and implement a universal basic income — despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's apparent lack of enthusiasm for the idea. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau winds up Liberal convention with election campaign-style speech

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau wound up a three-day Liberal convention Saturday with… Continue reading

Team Canada skip Brendan Bottcher makes a shot against Italy at the Men's World Curling Championships in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, April 6, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Men’s world curling championship in Calgary in COVID limbo

CALGARY — The men’s world curling championship in Calgary remained suspended Saturday… Continue reading

Pipes intended for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline are shown in Gascoyne, N.D. on Wednesday April 22, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta
Non-profit Quebec law centre to aid environmental group targeted by Alberta oil firm

QUEBEC — The Quebec Environmental Law Centre is coming to the aid… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservatives cite empathy, relationships as ways to help expand their movement

OTTAWA — Conservatives should show empathy with Black residents who say they’ve… Continue reading

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. New Democrats are reconvening for the second day of a three-day policy convention as they look to push past the glitches of the virtual event's opening sessions and rally around keynote speaker John Horgan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
New Democrats reconvene as hiccups, frustrations plague national policy convention

OTTAWA — New Democrats reconvened Saturday for the second day of a… Continue reading

FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 23, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a joint statement with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Former President Donald Trump plans to affirm his commitment to the Republican Party — and raise the possibility that someone else will be the GOP's next presidential nominee — in a closed-door speech to donors Saturday night, April 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
Trump in 2024? He says only that ‘a Republican’ will win

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Former President Donald Trump plans to affirm his… Continue reading

A cruise ship sits docked waiting for passengers to be evacuated in Kingstown, on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent, Friday, April 9, 2021 due to the eruption of La Soufriere volcano. (AP Photo/Orvil Samuel)
Ash-covered St. Vincent braces for more volcanic eruptions

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — People who ignored an initial warning to evacuate… Continue reading

Owner of 4 Point Taekwondo Kevin Mejia holds a board as organizer and martial artist Kevin Olsen breaks it in Edmonton on Friday, April 9, 2021. One hundred martial artists from around the world, will be breaking a board for an event called "Break for a Breakthrough." The idea is for martial artists to unite and re-engage with the arts because they may have drifted away or lost enthusiasm as a result of the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Break for a Breakthrough: Canadian hosts international martial arts demonstration

EDMONTON — Whether he’s breaking a wooden board, a clay tile, cement… Continue reading

Most Read