In a year where no province was a devastating economic shock from the COVID-19 epidemic, Alberta was the hardest hit yet.
The number released this week by Statistics Canada is 8.2 percent of Alberta’s GDP in 2020. The next hardest hit were Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador, with an economic return of 5.3 percent. Canada’s economy shrank by 5.3 percent throughout.
“This is certainly an unprecedented event at least in the last four decades,” said ATB Financial Deputy Chief Economist Rob Roach.
Alberta’s economy was tough because it not only dealt with epidemic restrictions, but also a drop in world oil prices last spring.
On April 20, 2020, the benchmark price for West Texas Intermediate crude closed below zero for the first time, leading to large-scale production stops and job losses.
Confusion, anger arises over NACI’s mixed message on ‘favorite’ COVID-19 vaccine
The giant Chinese rocket core is ‘falling out of control’ from Earth
Overall, oil and gas extraction fell by 6.4 percent in 2020.
Read more: Oil Industry Still Recovering 1 Year After Historical Commodity Decline In Negative Pricing Sector
Since the drop in prices, and employment in the region has returned to pre-epidemic levels, Alberta is still reeling from an employment crisis. The unemployment rate in the province is 9.1 percent and 223,000 Albertans are looking for work.
ATB Financial is forecasting a 4.1 per cent jump in the economy this year, but it will be a longer road than usual.
“It will probably be until 2023 until we fill the hole that was filled with the damage in 2020,” Roach said.
Read more: Alberta’s unemployment rate declines in March, now 9.1%
This increase, of course, is not guaranteed. Roach says the world oil markets need to remain stable, and the province will have to go through an epidemic. Alberta currently leads the nation in per capita active cases of COVID-19.
“The path of the pandemic, to be able to get it completely behind us and reopen the economy, even if things are not exactly the same as something normal needs to be,” Roach said.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Chorus Entertainment Inc.