Economic Scan - Alberta: 2022



  • Seniors aged 65+ and over accounted for over 14.8% of the total population in Alberta in 2022. Nationally, seniors accounted for 18.8% of the total population.
  • In 2022, older workers aged 55 to 64 years accounted for 14.8% of the working-age population in Alberta. This is lower than the proportion of older workers nationally, which is 16.3%.
  • Young individuals aged 15 to 24 made up 14.8% of the working age population in 2022. The unemployment rate for young workers was 10.8% in 2022, a 4.1% percentage point decrease from 2021.
  • Much like the rest of Canada, Alberta is dealing with the effects of a rapidly ageing population. However, Alberta has a comparatively young population, with a median age of 38.1 years old, compared to the national median age of 41.0 years old.
The average hourly wage for an Indigenous person in Alberta is $30.08, compared to $32.95 for the non-Indigenous population.

The Indigenous population comprised about 5.6% of the total Alberta population in 2022. Indigenous people had a higher participation rate (72.4%) and a higher employment rate (66.2%) compared to the total population. However, the unemployment rate for the Indigenous population was higher (8.6%) then the provincial total (5.8%).

4.5 million people lived in Alberta in 2022, an increase of 2.2% compared to 2021. The population of Alberta accounts for 36.1% of the W-T regions total population and 11.7% of Canada's total population.

In Alberta, 27.8% of the population were a part of a visible minority in 2022. Of this population, the highest proportion is South Asian (7.1%), followed by Filipino (5.2%), Black (4.3%) and Chinese (3.9%). Alberta had the second highest proportion of visible minorities in the W-T region, behind only BC (34.4%).

In 2022, about 25.9% of Alberta's population were landed immigrants. This was the second highest proportion of landed immigrants in the W-T region, behind only BC (33.0%). Landed immigrants had a higher unemployment rate (6.4%) then the total population (5.8%). Immigrants who had landed within 5 years had the highest unemployment rate at 7.9%.

In 2017, 21.7% of Alberta's population aged 15 and over were persons with disabilities (PWD). The 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability revealed wide differences in income and employment outcomes of those persons with disabilities when compared with the rest of the population. The unemployment rate for PWD was 10.2% compared to 7.2% for people without a disability. Persons with a disability also have an employment rate that is 14.6 percentage points lower than that of people without a disability.

Labour Market Conditions

In 2022...


Employment increased significantly (+5.2%)


Unemployment rate decreased sharply (-2.8pp)


Participation rate essentially stayed the same (+0.1pp)


Employment rate increased (+1.9pp)

Alberta Unemployment Rate

Show data table
Alberta Unemployment Rate
Year Unemployment Rate (%)
2012 4.7
2013 4.6
2014 4.8
2015 6.1
2016 8.2
2017 8.0
2018 6.5
2019 6.8
2020 11.3
2021 8.6
2022 5.8


  • High energy prices helped to support job growth throughout the province in 2022.
  • Capital spending in the province increased by $7.8 billion (+14.0%) in 2022 and is expected to increase modestly in 2023. Much of this capital spending will occur in the oil and gas sector.
  • Although the labour force increased by 2.1% in 2022, acute labour shortages affected many different sectors, including health care, air transportation, construction, tourism, and oil and gas.

Economic Conditions

Alberta's Economic Drivers in 2022

Strong population growth

High energy prices

Sustained labour shortages

Forecasted GDP Growth Rate in Alberta

Source : The Conference Board of Canada. Provincial Three-Year Outlook. December 2022.

Show data table
Forecasted GDP Growth Rate in Alberta
Year Forecasted GDP Growth Rate
2022 4.7%
2023 2.8%
2024 2.7%
2025 2.2%


  • Record high energy prices throughout much of 2022 helped support an impressive GDP growth rate of 4.7% in 2022. Amidst increased interest rates and high inflation, growth is expected to moderate in 2023, to 2.8%.
  • The war in Ukraine pushed energy prices to a record high in early 2022, before energy prices began to moderate throughout the rest of the year. The province's energy exports were 80% higher than last year, and resulted in massive surpluses for provincial government coffers.
  • In 2022, monthly employment only decreased one time. Employment in Alberta has proven to be resilient in the face of high inflation, rising interest rates and fears regarding an anticipated economic slowdown.
  • Alberta has had the strongest recovery to date from the global pandemic. Employment stands at 4.9% above pre-pandemic levels, substantially higher then the national average of 2.8%.
  • In the midst of impressive employment growth, many sectors faced acute labour shortages which led to disruptions in services, especially in the health care and transportation sectors.

Risks to the Alberta Economy in 2023

  • Although inflation has shown signs of slowing in recent months, it remains high at 5.0% provincially in January 2023. Inflation and high interest rates will likely slow household spending and have a negative impact on growth overall.
  • While 2022 was a historically strong year, the oil and gas sector will likely moderate in 2023. Real GDP in the oil and gas sector was 4.4 % in 2022 and will likely decrease to 3.9% in 2023 and 3.1% in 2024.
  • Small business confidence was down in February 2023 compared to a year earlier. A shortage of skilled labour and high input costs of fuel and energy were some of the top concerns for small businesses headed into 2023.

Regional Issues


A strong economy and relatively affordable cost of living has made Alberta an attractive destination for interprovincial migrants and international immigrants. In 2021/2022 net interprovincial migration to Alberta was 21,660. During the same period, 52,573 international immigrants arrived in Alberta, which was the second highest in the W-T region, behind only BC.

Industry Trends

Employment Growth by Industry, 2022

Show data table
Alberta Employment Growth ('000s)
Industry (NAICS) Employment Growth ('000s)
Professional, scientific and technical services 28.7
Wholesale and retail trade 22.6
Information, culture and recreation 17.7
Accommodation and food services 16.2
Construction 10.7
Manufacturing 5.9
Public administration 5.0
Business, building and other support services 4.4
Health care and social assistance 2.8
Agriculture 1.9
Utilities 1.5
Other services (except public administration) 1.4
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing 1.4
Educational services 0.4
Transportation and warehousing -1.5
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas -3.0


  • A strong economy in Alberta has led to job gains in the vast majority of industries, with the exception of transportation and warehousing (-1,500 jobs) and forestry, fishing, quarrying, and oil and gas (-3,000 jobs).
  • The professional, scientific, and technical services industry gained 28,700 jobs in 2022, the most of any industry. Short term prospects for the sector look promising, as many different projects have been announced across the province this year.
  • Although the oil and gas sector had a record year in regards to oil prices and production, employment in the sector decreased by 3,000 jobs in 2022.
  • The health care and social assistance sector gained 2,800 jobs annually in 2022. The industry will have to grow rapidly in the short term to alleviate acute labour shortages that have impacted nearly every economic region in Alberta.

Regional Economic Conditions

  • Robust economic growth led to increases in employment in every economic region in Alberta.
  • Of all the regions, Calgary had the highest employment growth in 2022, at 7.3%. The unemployment also decreased by an impressive 3.0 percentage points.
  • Camrose-Drumheller had the second highest employment growth in 2022. Employment growth in the region has been supported by a number of renewable energy projects that have been announced in the region in 2022.

Employment Growth by Economic Region, 2022

Show data table
Alberta Employment Growth (%)
Economic Region Employment Growth (%)
Calgary 7.3
Camrose-Drumheller 7.0
Lethbridge-Medicine Hat 6.3
Alberta 5.2
Edmonton 3.7
Banff-Jasper-Rocky Mountain House and Athabasca-Grande Prairie-Peace River 2.9
Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake 2.9
Red Deer 0.3


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