Alberta's Economy Will Show Modest Improvement In 2017: Economists

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There's a light at the end of Alberta's tunnel of economic hardship, according to two Calgary economists.

Attendees of yesterday's Calgary Economic Development Outlook heard that the worst of the province's recession pain will end in 2017 and Alberta can expect modest growth next year.

According to the Calgary Sun, Glen Hodgson with the Conference Board of Canada (CBOC) said "recovery is possible for Alberta," and predicts the GDP will likely grown between 2 and 2.5 per cent next year.

"We’re staying focused on those green shoots of recovery that are starting to emerge."

Oil prices will also climb between now and 2019, he said, but warned that Albertans probably won't see a return to the energy-reliant economy they're used to.

"It won’t be so much the old energy patch, so much as the public sector and more innovative parts of the economy growing a little bit," Hodgson told Global News.

calgary office towers
Calgary's office vacancy is at an all-time high. (Photo: Roman Adams/Getty Images)

It's been a week of tough economic news for Alberta – and Calgary, in particular.

Calgary's unemployment rate hit a new high of 10.2 per cent and Calgary's downtown core is experiencing its highest-ever office vacancy rate.

However, Hodgson expects the unemployment rate will improve to 7.8 per cent in 2017.

Todd Hirsch with ATB Financial warned it will be a slow comeback for jobs – with the potential for more layoffs before signs of recovery.

bad economy
One in ten Calgarians are out of a job right now, according to StatsCan. (Photo: People Images via Getty)

"We think we’ve seen the worst in the oil price downturn, but we don’t think we’ve seen the worst in the labour market. There is going to be a lag in the labour market improving coming out of this recession, and as a result I think Albertans need to brace themselves for still some tough months ahead in the labour market," he told the crowd, according to iNews880.

Mary Moran, CEO of Calgary Economic Development, told Metro News that many companies are considering relocating to Calgary to take advantage of bargain rates on office space and a large pool of talented employees.

“It’s easy for us to feel a sense of optimism – we’re staying focused on those green shoots of recovery that are starting to emerge,” said Moran.

CORRECTION: Formerly this post incorrectly stated Glen Hodgson's name. We have corrected the error.

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