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BMO Financial Group

June 01, 2011 10:35 ET

BMO Blue Book: Revitalized Energy Sector Sets Alberta Among Leaders in Provincial Growth

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - June 1, 2011) - Alberta's energy sector is humming again, and after a brief hiatus during the commodity price correction, the province is expected to reclaim its position near the top of the growth leaderboard, according to the first edition of the BMO Blue Book, a joint publication of BMO Capital Markets Economics and BMO Commercial Banking. Much like the U.S. Federal Reserve's Beige Book, the BMO Blue Book combines the expertise of BMO's economists with information on current business conditions provided to BMO's commercial bankers by local businesspeople.

"Real GDP is expected to expand 3.6 per cent this year before moderating to 3.4 per cent in 2012," said Robert Kavcic, Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "Labour markets will tighten in the process, but we're unlikely to see the labour shortages of the pre-recession period any time soon."

"You can feel the optimism in oil and gas—companies are starting to buy more equipment, and the utilization of that equipment is on the rise," said Bill Hogg, District Vice-President, Commercial, Alberta, BMO Bank of Montreal. "For example, utilization for oil rigs grew 50 per cent between February and March.

"Business confidence is strong. With a low tax base, no sales tax and a significant entrepreneurial spirit, Alberta is full of businesspeople prepared to go out and take risks," added Mr. Hogg.

The full report can be found at www.bmocm.com/economics.

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