Statistics Canada recently released experimental data for the economies of the 10 provinces, and according to the data, Alberta’s economy did better than that in the rest of Canada during the last quarter of 2021, but there’s a catch.
The indexes were developed after a need arose for a comprehensive measure of economic activity at the provincial level to supplement the annual estimates of GDP for the provinces.
When we look at the Simple economic activity index, here’s how the economy of 8 provinces fared at the end of 2021. Unfortunately, the data for Manitoba and PEI was too unreliable for the index.
Here we can see that Alberta’s economy is higher than all the rest, according to this one index. BC is not too far behind, and the two of them are the only provinces who topped the 190-mark in the index.
Not only that, but Alberta saw the largest growth on the index between November 2021 and December 2021.
|Nov 2021||Dec 2021||Change|
However, when we start looking at the longer term, that’s where things look less rosy for Alberta.
For example, here’s how the provinces changed between the third quarter and fourth quarters of 2021.
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While Alberta’s economy did improve between the two quarters, according to this index, the province dropped from first to third place.
Over the past year though, Alberta jumped up to first place again.
|Dec 2020||Dec 2021||Change|
In fact, we slammed the other provinces, with an increase more than double that of the next two highest provinces, BC and Saskatchewan.
Yet, that good ol’ Alberta advantage disappears as we go further out, past the pandemic.
|Dec 2019||Dec 2021||Change|
Since December 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic had begun, Alberta has dropped 13.18 points on the index. Not only were we no longer at the top of the index, but we were in last place. Plus, we were the only province that saw its index ranking drop over the last two years.
Same goes for the last 3 years.
|Dec 2018||Dec 2021||Change|
At least our drop wasn’t as large. That being said, we still are in last place and still the only province that saw a decline.
Finally, here’s how Alberta’s index ranking has changed over the last 10 years.
Compared to the last 11 years, December 2021 was the 5th lowest December Alberta has seen on the simple economic activity index. And that shouldn’t be surprising, given that we just went through the worst recession we’ve seen in generations.
Except that doesn’t really explain why Alberta’s economic recovery seems to be slower than everyone else’s. All the provinces experienced the same pandemic.
Here is how much each December of the last 11 years compared to the previous December.
What we see is that last December was by far the largest increase on the simple economic activity index that Alberta has seen since at least 2011.
That might seem impressive, but keep in mind that the previous year, they lost 36.88 points on the index. Even with a gain of 23.7 points over 2020, we’re still 13.18 points lower than we were at the end of 2019.
So, while it’s pretty cool that Alberta is seeing so much economic growth, it’s all recovery growth, and we still haven’t fully recovered.
All the other provinces, however, have.