Conference Board outlook paints bleak picture for Alberta in 2015

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CALGARY — Finance Minister Joe Oliver’s assertion that there’s been no recession in Canada this year is of little solace in Alberta.

A new report by the Conference Board of Canada paints a bleak economic picture of the oil-producing province, which has been hit hard by a halving in crude prices.

The think-tank says low oil prices are severely hampering the province’s economy and expects a one per cent contraction in real gross domestic product this year.

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It foresees the rough times persisting for the remainder of 2015 as oilpatch layoffs hit home and new home building stalls, but says next year should be better.

It forecasts a provincial unemployment rate of 5.6 per cent in 2015, worse than 4.7 per cent in 2014.

Todd Hirsch, chief economist at Alberta-owned bank ATB Financial, said earlier this week that he’s predicting a modest recession this year, with a return to growth in 2016.

Follow @LaurenKrugel on Twitter

The Canadian Press

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