After two straight years of devastating recession in Alberta, 2017 proved to be a turnaround year for the economy.
The province is forecast to lead the nation in growth this year, thousands of new jobs have been created and the unemployment rate has stabilized.
With the calendar about to turn over to 2018, the City of Edmonton’s chief economist predicts the city’s economy is about to turn the page as well.
“What we’re going to see is an acceleration of growth in the Edmonton region,” John Rose told Global News on Wednesday, predicting about two-and-a-half per cent growth in 2018.
“We’ll see that unemployment rate continue to move down,” Rose added. “Maybe down below seven per cent over the course of 2018.”
Edmonton was partially sheltered during the downturn due to investments in health and education by the provincial government. With the NDP government signalling it will begin to look for savings to reduce the deficit, Rose feels it will be the private sector leading the charge in 2018.
“We’ll see a complete recovery on the manufacturing side and professional services — that is engineering, project management — that area of the Edmonton economy will start to improve.”
The turnaround is already starting to be felt in areas like Nisku.
“Things do seem to be picking up,” said Frank Guy with SKS Logistics, a trucking company which specializes in oilfield hauling.
During the downturn, Guy worked with productions like Cirque du Soleil and Lady Gaga to keep his drivers busy, but his old oilfield clients are starting to come back.
“We’re not jumping for joy yet, but certainly things are improving.”