March 2014 Alberta Economic Fundamentals

Ally

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#2
Report calls for a revamp of Calgary's 'broken' housing system





Despite `concerted efforts` over the past two decades, there has been `no change` in Calgary`s affordable housing situation and city ought to completely revamp its approach to the problem, according to a new report.





`Our housing system in Calgary in broken ` I will put it as simply and bluntly as that,` Coun. Brian Pincott said Sunday after reading the report, due up at the city`s priorities and finance committee this week.





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Ally

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#3
Hot Calgary housing market sets all-time price records





February may have been a frigid month outside but it was smoking hot for Calgary`s resale housing market.







The month established all-time highs for MLS sale prices as well as luxury home sales as nearly one in five transactions turned into bidding wars in the marketplace due to a continued low inventory of available properties.





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#4
Calgary poised to limit areas available for suburban growth





New suburban growth could be restricted to Calgary`s northeast corner and deep southwest for several years if the city adopts a proposed land development plan that councillors will debate Tuesday.





Under a strategy more than two years in the works, planners are recommending Calgary focus all its new suburban infrastructure spending in those two undeveloped sectors between 2015 and 2018.





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#5
Alberta plays it safe with 'cautious' 2014 budget





Despite growing oil revenues that will help the Alberta government spend more on health care, education and social programs this year, the province will continue to borrow billions to finance projects.





Alberta is turning the corner, said Finance Minister Doug Horner, announcing a $1-billion increase in spending after holding the line last year.





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Ally

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#6
Alberta budget by the numbers





One year after Premier Alison Redford released a cash-strapped budget filled with `tough choices," Alberta has just passed it`s first surplus in six years.





The 2014-15 budget, announced Thursday, delivers an operational surplus of $2.6-billion, a consolidated surplus of $1.1-billion and $24-billion in savings. There are no new taxes or tax increases.





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Ally

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#7
Alberta job numbers suggest overheating economy





Alberta job numbers are up compared to this time last year but one economist in the province says that could be a sign of an overheating economy.





According to the latest numbers from Statistics Canada, Alberta added 82,000 jobs since this time last year. While that's good news for people with well paying jobs in the oil patch and construction industries, it could also be an early indicator of a possible labour crunch.





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Ally

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#8
Top 5 list of Alberta's in-demand jobs for 2014





CALGARY- Looking for a fresh start in the New Year? An Alberta recruitment firm has just released the list of five in-demand occupations in 2014.





Collective Technical Recruitment says ongoing skills and labour shortages, combined with advancements in business and technology will mean an increased need for workers in a number of industries.





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#9
When it comes to jobs, Alberta is in a class of its own





Canada is a nation of two labour markets: Alberta, and everywhere else.


Nine in 10 net new jobs in the past year have been created in Alberta alone, or 82,300 out of the total 94,700 across all the provinces. Alberta has tallied year-over-year employment growth of 3.8 per cent, more than seven times the pace of the national average.







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Ally

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#10
St. Albert named best place in Canada to live





TORONTO, March 12, 2014 /CNW/ - For the first time, St. Albert, Alta., has earned the top spot on MoneySense's annual Best Places to Live in Canada, a ranking based on hard data such as employment, housing prices, crime, weather and household income.





After holding steady as the No. 2 overall city last year, St. Albert moves up one spot to take the crown. So exactly how does a small city with 64,000 people on the fringe of Edmonton beat out every other city in Canada? Take your pick. Unemployment sits at just above four per cent, incomes are among the highest in the country, crime rates are steadily falling, and while its winters can be skin-splittingly cold, it's sunny all year round.





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Ally

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#11
Suncor begins planned work on Fort McMurray upgrader





March 11 (Reuters) - Suncor Energy Inc said on Tuesday it began planned maintenance lasting six weeks on an oil sands upgrader (U2) at its oil sands operations near Fort McMurray, Alberta.





While U2 will be partially shut for the work, its other upgrader will continue operating normally, the company said.





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Ally

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#12
Alberta job vacancy rate highest in Canada





CALGARY - Alberta`s job vacancy rate is the highest in the country, tied with Saskatchewan, according to a report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.





The CFIB`s report, released Wednesday, said Alberta`s vacancy rate in the fourth quarter of 2013 was 3.7 per cent which translated into about 59,000 jobs. It was up 0.1 per cent from the previous quarter.





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#13
Condo projects on the rise in the shadow of Edmonton's new arena





EDMONTON - Add Toronto`s `condo king` to the growing list of developers who plan to build spiffy new highrise projects in downtown Edmonton.





Brad Lamb, CEO of Toronto`s Lamb Development Corp. and renowned as one of the top realtors in Canada`s biggest city, already has about $1 billion worth of high-end condo projects in the pipeline in Toronto, Ottawa and Calgary.





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#14
Announcement of LRT funding in Edmonton leaves Calgary mayor feeling encouraged





Despite no money being announced for Calgary, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he is `encouraged` by funding made available for Edmonton`s Valley Line LRT project.





The province announced Tuesday nearly $600 million will be available to the city of Edmonton for what the government is calling a `visionary project.`





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Ally

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#15
Calgary house price growth outpacing the rest of Canada





CALGARY - Calgary`s housing market continues to shine compared with the rest of the country as local residental real estate prices showed the highest growth rate in Canada in February, according to a report released Wednesday on repeat home sales.





Calgary prices rose by 9.6 per cent year-over-year and by 1.1 per cent month-over-month - both the best in the country and to an all-time high for the city, said the Teranet-National Bank National Composite House Price Index.





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Ally

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#16
The affordability debate: Is Edmonton getting too expensive?





Like the merits of developing the oilsands a few hours north, how expensive or affordable it is to live in Edmonton is a topic sure to spark debate.





For some, Alberta`s oil riches have brought a bonanza of jobs and generous wages to a region where the cost of living is lower than some other cities in Canada.





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Ally

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#17
Alberta housing market set to surge





Alberta`s housing market, led by Calgary, is poised for a boom, Bank of Montreal economist Robert Kavcic says in a report to be released Friday afternoon.





The province`s housing market is quickly heating up again, fuelled by a stronger economy. Barring a sudden drop in oil markets, home prices and construction in Alberta will continue to climb in the year ahead, he says.





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Ally

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#18
Global provider of workforce housing expanding to Alberta oilsands





CALGARY - A Texas-based provider of workforce housing is moving into Alberta's energy industry.







Target Logistics, with administrative headquarters in Boston and operational heaquarters in Houston, recently acquired a 278-bed open camp near Fort McMurray - its first in the Alberta oilsands, but not last, foray into the province. And it recently released a white paper saying labour challenges in remote locations, such as Alberta`s oilsands, can be addressed through better housing solutions.





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Ally

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#19
Chief ATB Economist challenges Alberta's "illusions"





The conventional wisdom on Alberta`s economy is all wrong. That, at least, was the message chief Alberta Treasury Branch (ATB) economist Todd Hirsch brought to the Friday, March 7 Leduc Regional Chamber of Commerce luncheon, held at Leduc`s Best Western.







Hirsch didn`t upend the entire popular understanding of the province`s economy, but did focus on three of the most common economic `illusions,` as he sees them, that exist in the public perception.







Likening those perceptions to `optical illusions,` Hirsch spoke first about Alberta`s labour market, and the widely held idea that jobs here are plentiful and easy to find, regardless of one`s training or experience.





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Ally

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#20
Why Alberta might be the best province to live in





It ranks fourth in both size and population compared to other provinces, but Alberta outranks everyone else in the country when it comes to the best places to live in Canada, according to a new survey.








In fact, Alberta cities hog the top three spots on Money Sense magazine`s 2014 rankings and four out of the top 10.





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