Article was originally published on Jan 3, 2016 by the Globe and Mail. The piece was done as a special to the Globe and Mail, and can be accessed with a subscription here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/economic-insight/albertas-economy-in-2016-is-a-gamblers-dream/article27989125/%3bjsessionid=yJbwWKvRdgrp54SJWlWzGSMTJJk96G4Mxqy1c2g4R3XwctwPpvsZ!1117188253/?ts=160104124549&ord=1
Out-migration from Alberta: odds, 2 to 1
This is a familiar trend in Alberta when the economy periodically hits the skids. It's also one of the best reasons for being part of a national economy that allows labour mobility. Interprovincial in-migration over the past five years was essential for employers in Alberta that were looking for workers. Now that the tides have turned, there's a good chance some will leave. Preventing a massive outflow, however, is the fact that the job market isn't much better elsewhere in the country (British Columbia being the one exception).
Economic contraction: odds, 1 to 1
Downturns like last year's aren't uncommon in Alberta, and in fact the last recession in 2009 was much deeper (albeit short lived). This time around, the contraction is likely to linger longer on for a while, with both 2015 and 2016 forecast to see some drop in the real gross domestic product. At this point, growth should be so close to zero that it's a flip of the coin whether the province will see another year of sliding backward.
And then, for the real gamblers, there are the black swan events: