Our Signature January Networking Event 2018 Economic Forecast by Todd Hirsch, had a turnout of over 110 supply chain professionals in Edmonton and Calgary. Todd Hirsch gave a concise and informative talk on the current state of the economy and where he sees it going in 2018.

Here are the five key trends that Todd predicted for Alberta’s economy in 2018:

  1. Alberta will feel continued frustration with building new pipelines as Kinder Morgan and Keystone XL find themselves at odds with a variety of stakeholders, but in the near future we should expect to see more progress;
  2. Increasing interest rates will negatively impact servicing costs of household debt leading to a slight increase in mortgage defaults and bankruptcies;
  3. Uncertainty around NAFTA has highlighted Canada’s need to diversify trade and build stronger relationships with Pacific Rim countries and Europe;
  4. We will continue to watch crude oil prices; we can’t ever be certain where prices will go, but the likeliest scenario is stability in the $55-60 range;
  5. Robotics and AI with continue to impact the labour market, but Alberta is uniquely suited to benefit from these changes with a younger, better educated and more entrepreneurial workforce.

Overall, unemployment is still too high in Alberta at 7% compared to the National average of 6% but Alberta’s growth will likely be around 2.7%, which is moderate but sustainable. Finally, Todd believes that now is the best time for Alberta’s economy to diversify and reduce our dependence on one industry, as we face an excess of unemployment and slower recovery of the oil and gas industry.

Todd Hirsch   

Todd Hirsch, Chief Economist - ATB Financial

For over 20 years, Todd has worked as an economist at numerous organizations including the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Canada West Foundation and the Bank of Canada. For almost a decade, Todd taught economics at the University of Calgary. He released his first book, The Boiling Frog Dilemma: Saving Canada from Economic Decline in 2012, his second, Halfway Home in 2016 and his third, Spiders in Space: Successfully Adapting to Unwanted Change in 2017.

Todd provides economic commentary for many Canadian media outlets. He has served on the University of Calgary Board of Governors and is the chair of the Calgary Arts Academy. Todd recently received the University of Alberta's Alumni Honour Award and an honorary degree from Mount Royal University.

He holds a BA Honours in Economics from the U of A and an MA in Economics from the University of Calgary.

To receive Todd's daily economic updates via email, subscribe to ATB Financial's daily economic update, The Owl.