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Alberta: Economy

Alberta's economy was at first overwhelmingly agricultural. In the south cattle ranching predominated, farther north, grain farming was the backbone of the provincial economy. World War II was an economic turning point in Alberta. Petroleum and natural gas are Alberta's greatest mineral resources. In 1947 a new oil discovery at Leduc made the province a major oil and gas producer. Coal is also abundant. Long 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 service sector accounts for more than 60 per cent of Alberta's gross domestic product. More than two-thirds of Albertans work in such industries as business and financial services, transportation, retail trade, health and education services and tourism. In terms of both sales and employment food and beverage processing remains the largest manufacturing industry. Petrochemicals and plastics, forest products, metals and machinery and refineries, as well as an increasing range of industrial products - including aerospace and transportation equipment are also significant.

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