On Wednesday February 28, 2018 the government of Alberta released its third quarter fiscal update. The government believe the economy is looking up due to GDP growth and employment gains. The government now predicts they will decrease the deficit by $1.4 billion due largely because of increased revenue.
According to the government release, “Over the last year (January 2017-January 2018) full-time employment increased by almost 90,000, and all the jobs lost during the recession have been recovered.”
The 2017-18 deficit is now forecast at $9.1 billion, $1.4 billion lower than Budget 2017, due to higher revenue, costs containment and removal of the $0.5 billion risk adjustment, offset partially by increased expense.
On the capital plan the budget has remained at $9.2 billion almost identical to the 2017 budget but the total spending predicted has dropped slightly. The government claims that decreases in various capital projects are primarily due to re-profiling the projects to future years based on progress, and to savings.
“Factors impacting project progress include the pace of construction, project scope, land conditions, timing related to tendering, planning and permitting, and rate of project identification, approval and construction under federal programs.”
ACA took to social media to caution that deficit reduction cannot come at the expense of construction jobs. Deferring capital investment now when construction costs are low will mean labour shortages and increased costs when the economy recovers.
You can read the update in full here.