Alberta Economy Oververview



Hay harvest near Pincher Creek, Alberta

Alberta has one of the world's most productive agricultural economies, producing about 20 percent of the value of Canada's annual output. Approximately 22 million hectares of cultivated and uncultivated land are used as pasture and forage for livestock. While wheat remains the primary crop, the production of new crops continues to expand as the industry diversifies. The province maintains the largest livestock population in Canada, and is famous for its "Alberta beef."

Known as Canada's "energy province," Alberta has more than 80 percent of the country's reserves of conventional crude oil, over 90 percent of its natural gas, and all of its bitumen and oil-sands reserves. The oil and natural gas sector has responded successfully to the challenges of unstable energy prices in the 1980s by significantly reducing production and operating costs. While most of the production is centred around Edmonton, most of the oil company headquarters are in Calgary.

Huge Pumjack near Swan Hills

Over half the province (approximately 350 000 sq km) is covered by forests, of which half are classified as commercially-productive forest land, containing both hardwood and softwood species.

Alberta manufacturing industries include petrochemicals and plastics, forest products, metals, machinery, aerospace and transportation equipment. Food and beverage processing is the largest manufacturing industry sector in Alberta.

The service sector accounts for two-thirds of Alberta's employment, including such industries as business and financial services, transportation, retail trade, health and education services and tourism. The province offers many attractions to visitors, in particular the magnificent Rocky Mountains, centered around Jasper and Banff national parks.

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