Alberta wildfires knocked economy into reverse in May

Statistics Canada reports GDP took a tumble, larger than economists predicted.

OTTAWA — The huge Alberta wildfires helped force the Canadian economy to contract by 0.6% in May – the country’s deepest one-month decline in more than seven years.

Statistics Canada’s latest reading for real gross domestic product revealed the extent of the economic damage caused by the blaze that roared through the heart of oil sands country.

The dip in the economy was larger than expected as economists had predicted real GDP to recoil in May by 0.4%, according to Thomson Reuters.

The fires led to the evacuation of Fort McMurray in northern Alberta, shut down key oil sands operations and dimmed economic growth prospects for the second quarter.

Statistics Canada says the decline in real GDP for May was largely due to a 22% drop in non-conventional oil extraction – but manufacturing output also fell in large part because of a 15% decline at petroleum refineries.

The May real GDP reading follows a slim economic growth reading of 0.1% in April and contractions of 0.2% in March and 0.1% in February.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016

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