Prairie provinces expected to quicken Canada’s economic growth

Canada’s economy “continues to run at multiple speeds, with strong growth in Alberta and Saskatchewan in contrast to Quebec and Atlantic Canada, which are struggling to grow much more than 1.5 per cent,” Bank of Montreal senior economist Robert Kavcic noted in a report last week.

Economic growth among the provinces diverged last year. Alberta led the country’s expansion in 2012, posting 3.8-per-cent growth, with Manitoba and Saskatchewan also posting above-average GDP growth. New Brunswick and Newfoundland’s economy contracted outright, while Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario all posted sub-par growth, according to Statistics Canada data released this month.

To highlight just how strong Alberta was: Last year’s growth came on the heels of 5.2-per-cent growth in 2011. Its expansion stemmed from booming household consumption, exports and building activity. Its workers benefited from the boom, with compensation of employees climbing 9.2 per cent, the fastest pace in the country.

All three provinces – Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta – now have the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Alberta boasts the highest retail sales growth, year-over-year, in Canada, along with the biggest percentage jump in building permits. Exports in the province are growing, new house prices are climbing and more people are flocking to the province for work.

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