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Provincial and territorial economic accounts, 2017

Released: 2018-11-08

For the first time since 2010, real gross domestic product (GDP) rose in every province and territory in 2017. Alberta's economy grew the fastest among the provinces (+4.4%), rebounding from a 4.2% decline in 2016. Ontario and Quebec, Canada's largest provincial economies, both grew 2.8%. Canada's real GDP rose 3.0% in 2017, following a 1.1% increase in 2016. Final domestic demand rose 3.1%, the fastest pace since 2010.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Real gross domestic product, 2017
Real gross domestic product, 2017

For Canada as a whole, growth in 2017 was primarily driven by a 3.6% rise in household spending, the fastest rate of growth since 2010. Gross fixed capital formation rebounded 3.0%, following a 4.3% decline in 2016. Exports of goods and services to other countries rose 1.1%, while imports increased 4.2%.

Spending on durable goods—notably, purchases of motor vehicles and furniture—was up 7.1% in 2017, almost double the growth in the previous year and the highest pace since 2002. Ontario led the growth in outlays for durable goods (+8.4%), followed by British Columbia (+8.3%). Spending on services was also strong in British Columbia (+4.1%) and in Quebec (+3.4%). Newfoundland and Labrador had the lowest growth in household spending on both goods (+0.4%) and services (+1.0%).

This release incorporates revisions to the provincial and territorial economic accounts for 2015 and 2016. Nationally, growth in real GDP was revised downwards from 1.0% to 0.7% in 2015 and from 1.4% to 1.1% in 2016. More up-to-date information reinforced the published estimates of weaker growth in 2015, and also indicated that the downturn was more broadbased than previously reported as 8 of 13 provinces and territories had their real GDP growth revised downward in 2015. Likewise, the acceleration in 2016 was more subdued as incomes grew more slowly than originally reported. For example, the overall depth of the decline in Alberta was deeper than previously reported as their nominal GDP was revised downward in both 2015 and 2016. Real GDP in British Columbia was revised downward in 2015 due to weaker than reported exports.

Atlantic Canada

In Newfoundland and Labrador, real GDP increased 0.9% in 2017. Household spending rose 0.7%, while business gross fixed capital formation fell 19.9%, following a 12.2% increase in 2016 due to work on the Hebron offshore oil project. An 11.6% drop in imports was the main contributor to GDP growth, as exports edged down 0.4%.

In Prince Edward Island, real GDP rose 3.5% in 2017. Business gross fixed capital formation (+23.6%) was the main driver of growth, as investment in residential structures (+25.6%) grew substantially as did investment in non-residential structures (+51.4%). For the latter, the gain was partly the result of upgrades to the power cables running from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island, which were completed in 2017. Imports grew 5.3%, while exports rose 1.8%. Household spending increased 2.4%.

Nova Scotia's real GDP rose 1.5% in 2017. Household spending was up 2.8%, with motor vehicle purchases contributing to strong durable goods expenditures (+7.3%). Business gross fixed capital formation fell 4.7%, following the completion of both the Tuoquoy gold mine and the convention centre in Halifax in 2016. Exports increased 1.9%, while imports rose 2.2%.

In New Brunswick, real GDP increased 1.8% in 2017, following a 1.4% rise in 2016. Growth in business gross fixed capital formation (+5.9%) was driven by higher investment in non-residential structures (+20.4%), largely from the utilities, information and cultural industries. Exports grew 5.5%, led by energy products, while imports increased 5.9%. Household spending rose 2.2%.

Central Canada

Quebec's economy grew 2.8% in 2017, the fastest pace since 2002 and a pronounced acceleration from 2016 (+1.4%). Growth was driven by a 3.2% increase in household spending and a 5.1% rise in gross fixed capital formation. Investment in residential structures rose 7.3%, following a 3.2% increase in 2016. Exports rose 1.2%, while imports increased 3.9%.

In Ontario, real GDP grew 2.8% in 2017, after rising 2.3% in 2016. The GDP growth was primarily driven by higher household spending (+3.9%), mainly stemming from expenses on durable goods (+8.4%), including motor vehicles and furniture, as well as a 3.3% increase in outlays for services. Gross fixed capital formation rose 3.3%, following a flat 2016 (+0.2%). Growth in imports (+5.1%) outpaced that of exports (+1.8%).

Western Canada

Manitoba's real GDP increased 3.2% in 2017, following a 1.6% rise in 2016. Household spending (+3.4%) led the increase, with higher outlays for both goods (+4.1%) and services (+2.9%). Business investment in non-residential structures rose 14.7%, primarily driven by work on the Keeyask dam and near completion of the Bipole III transmission line project in 2017. Imports of goods and services (+5.0%) rose at a faster pace than exports (+4.0%).

In Saskatchewan, real GDP grew 2.2% in 2017, following two consecutive annual declines. Exports (+5.0%) were the main contributor, recording the largest annual increase since 2014. Higher oil prices and an increase in oil and gas production led this growth, along with exports of potash. Household spending rose 2.0%, mainly on higher outlays for services (+2.5%). Business gross fixed capital formation increased 1.1%, led by higher investments in machinery and equipment (+5.6%) and intellectual property products (+14.7%), which were largely driven by mineral exploration. Investment in residential structures declined 1.0%.

Real GDP in Alberta rose 4.4% in 2017, following declines in 2015 (-3.7%) and 2016 (-4.2%) in the wake of falling oil prices. Exports led the rise in GDP, increasing 8.4% as higher oil prices spurred oil and gas extraction and production in 2017. Household spending rose 3.2%, with higher outlays for both goods (+3.8%) and services (+2.8%).

In British Columbia, real GDP rose 3.8% in 2017, following a 3.2% increase in 2016. Growth was primarily driven by higher household spending (+4.6%). Business investment in non-residential structures rebounded 29.7% after two consecutive annual declines. Increased investment was led by oil and gas engineering construction, notably from the Saturn Compressor Facility Expansion and the Towerbirch Expansion project, in Dawson Creek, and the Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal in Prince Rupert. Investment in residential structures edged down 0.4%, following seven consecutive years of growth. Imports of goods and services rose 8.0% in 2017, outpacing the 3.4% gain in exports.

The territories

In Yukon, real GDP increased 3.1% in 2017 after rising 6.9% in 2016. Increases in gross fixed capital formation (+29.9%) more than offset lower exports (-6.8%). Investment growth was concentrated in mining and health care.

Real GDP in the Northwest Territories rose 3.7% in 2017, following a 1.1% increase in 2016. The growth was attributable to higher exports (+11.3%). Gross fixed capital formation (-26.9%) weakened, reflecting the completion of two major construction projects in mining and transportation in 2016.

In Nunavut, real GDP rose 9.8% in 2017 following a 3.8% gain in 2016. The GDP growth was primarily driven by a 36.1% rise in gross fixed capital formation, attributable to mining- and infrastructure-related projects. A 20.0% increase in exports, largely iron ore, also accelerated growth.

  Note to readers

This release incorporates revisions to the provincial and territorial economic accounts for 2015 and 2016 and the addition of estimates for 2017. The provincial–territorial gross domestic product by industry data from 2015 to 2017 were also revised. Both data series incorporate the new 2015 benchmark provincial and territorial supply and use tables, revisions to the national income and expenditure accounts released today, as well as revised provincial–territorial source data. A new base year of 2012 was adopted for volume estimates, that is, those estimates controlling for the effects of price changes; this replaces the previous 2007 base year. Updates were made to the trade classification.

Percentage changes for expenditure-based statistics (such as household final consumption expenditure, gross fixed capital formation, exports and imports) are calculated from volume measures that are adjusted for price variations. Percentage changes for income-based statistics (such as compensation of employees and net operating surplus of corporations) are calculated from nominal values; that is, they are not adjusted for price variations.

Products

Provincial and territorial gross domestic product by income and expenditure accounts

This release also presents new 2017 as well as revised 2015 and 2016 data on provincial and territorial gross domestic product (GDP) by income and expenditure.

Provincial and territorial GDP by income and expenditure accounts includes estimates of income- and expenditure-based GDP, real GDP, contributions to percent change in real GDP, implicit price indexes, the current accounts for the household sector, the property income of households and other selected indicators for the household sector.

More detailed analysis on today's release from the national accounts, including additional charts and tables, is presented in the 2017 issue of Provincial and Territorial Economic Accounts Review, Vol. 12, no. 1 (Catalogue number13-016-X), which is now available.

The Latest Developments in the Canadian Economic Accounts (Catalogue number13-605-X) is available.

The User Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-606-G) is available.

The Methodological Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-607-X) is available.

Gross domestic product by industry – Provincial and territorial (annual)

Revised figures for 2015 to 2017 provincial and territorial gross domestic product by industry are included with this release. Current price and chained Fisher GDP estimates for the period 1997 to 2006 have also been revised to improve the continuity of the GDP by industry time series and to enhance their coherence with expenditure-based GDP. In addition, the series from 1997 to 2017 now have 2012 as a reference year instead of 2007.

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of provincial and territorial GDP by industry data, contact Guillaume Dubé (613-863-0782; guillaume.dube2@canada.ca), Industry Accounts Division.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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