Pumpjacks draw oil out of the ground in a canola field near Olds, Alta., Thursday, July 16, 2020. One year after oil prices crashed to their first and only negative close during a perfect storm of energy demand bad news, Canada’s oilpatch is poised to report a first-quarter gusher of cash flow thanks to a dramatic recovery in global demand. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Pumpjacks draw oil out of the ground in a canola field near Olds, Alta., Thursday, July 16, 2020. One year after oil prices crashed to their first and only negative close during a perfect storm of energy demand bad news, Canada’s oilpatch is poised to report a first-quarter gusher of cash flow thanks to a dramatic recovery in global demand. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Alberta’s economy shrank by 8.2% in 2020

Low world oil prices and pandemic hit Alberta hard

Alberta’s economy shrank by more than eight per cent last year.

The first official estimate from Statistics Canada of Alberta’s GDP in 2020 shows that the economy shrank $27.3 billion compared to 2019 for a drop of 8.2 per cent.

The next largest annual contraction in at least four decades was in 2009 when provincial output fell by 5.3 per cent.

“Unfortunately, the economic damage in Alberta last year was even worse than we were expecting it to be,” says ATB in its regular update on the Alberta economy.

ATB’s most recent forecast pegged the drop in GDP at 7.1 per cent while the average across Canada’s five largest chartered banks was for a contraction of 6.9 per cent.

The combined effects of the oil price crash and pandemic pushed Alberta’s GDP down the most of any province.

The national economy shrank 5.3 per cent, which ATB calls a “more modest, though still extremely painful, amount.”



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