Alberta’s economy is expected to grow by 3.5 per cent this year, nearly triple the national average of 1.2 per cent, according to a recent report from BMO Capital Markets Economics and BMO Commercial Banking’s Blue Book.

The continued positive outlook is largely due to the province’s energy sector and related industries.

“Oil and gas companies still dominate the scene, but we see significant opportunity for firms that support the industry spinoffs,” said Mike Darling, BMO’s regional vice-president of commercial banking for southern Alberta. “This particularly applies to the engineering sector, where our clients are experiencing considerable growth.”

Alberta is the only province where growth is expected to be above three per cent, added BMO senior economist Robert Kavic.

The bank also expects employment growth in the province to increase by four per cent year-over-year compared with relatively minimal growth nationally.

“The province’s healthy labour market continues to draw a significant number of migrants from other parts of the country,” said Kavic. “As a result, Alberta’s population growth surged 3.5 per cent year-over-year, which is the fastest in more than 30 years.”