Edmonton’s economy is poised to contract by 0.1% in 2015, according to a new report by the Conference Board of Canada.
“The decline in oil prices [will] take its toll on Edmonton’s economy, as key industries post sluggish growth and outright declines,” says Alan Arcand, associate director of the Centre for Municipal Studies.
But, he adds, “sectors such as housing and manufacturing are positioned for healthy gains,” so job growth will remain positive at 0.9%. As well, housing starts are expected to reach their second-highest level on record.
The report finds Vancouver will be the fastest growing metropolitan economy in the country for 2015, while Calgary and Edmonton face recessions.
The fall in oil prices has continued to strain many key industries in Edmonton. But the resources, primary and utilities sector, as well as the local manufacturing sector, are set to grow this year.
Unfortunately, layoffs in those two industries will continue. The report finds employment is expected to dip by 5.8% in the resources, primary and utility sector, and by 1.8% in manufacturing.
Edmonton’s construction industry will be hardest hit, given output is forecast to shrink by 5.4% this year. Still, business investment in building and structures and residential construction will remain healthy.
And, Edmonton’s residential sector is faring better than expected, thanks to robust activity in the multiple-units market. Multiple starts skyrocketed in the first quarter, paving the way for builders to break ground on 16,151 total starts this year—that’s the second-highest number on records going back to 1972.
Edmonton’s overall economic outlook looks brighter in 2016, with an anticipated expansion of 1.8%.