Alberta continues to thrive
Alberta's economic boom and the resulting labour shortage have been making headlines across the country for several years now, but there's still time to cash in on unprecedented employment opportunities, reports suggest.
[ 2008-02-13 ]
The Alberta economy created more than 86,000 jobs in 2006 -- the fastest pace of employment growth in a quarter century. That's according to Budget 2007: Managing Our Growth, released by the Alberta government in April of that year.
The so-called Texas of Canada accounted for 27% of new jobs created in Canada in 2006. At the same time, its unemployment rate fell to a 30-year low of 3.4%. Its economy is expected to churn out 170,000 new jobs each year through 2010 -- that's an average annual growth of 2.2%, compared to 1.5% nationally.
Along the way, Alberta has become a magnet for workers, attracting more than 57,000 people from other provinces in 2006 alone -- the highest level on record. Its population growth of 3% was the highest among provinces and three times the national increase.
In turn, inflation was double the national average of 2.3%, thanks largely to demand for housing, which led to a sharp increase in new house prices. They rose 40% on average -- almost four times the national increase. House prices are expected to return to more sustainable rates of increase and inflation is expected to drop to around 2% by 2010, the Alberta government predicts.
The province's tight labour market is expected to place continuing pressure on wages, especially in high-demand sectors such as construction. Hourly wages increased by 6.9% in 2006, more than double the national increase of 3.3%.
According to Statistics Canada, Alberta's average hourly wage of $23.50 is well above that of other provinces -- up 8% or close to $2/hr. from 2006 to 2007 and far above the province's Consumer Price Index change of 4.7%.