Alberta on the rebound

Gone is Alberta’s jack rabbit economy – in 2009 it looked more like a turtle crawling backwards.

ATB economist Todd Hirsch speaks about the rising TSX to the Central Alberta Manufacturing Association Wednesday night.

Gone is Alberta’s jack rabbit economy – in 2009 it looked more like a turtle crawling backwards.

But that turtle has a grin on its face, says an Alberta economist.

Todd Hirsch, senior economist at ATB Financial, said despite the recession, a more balanced job market, a stable housing market, and rebounding oil prices are working in Alberta’s favour.

“Despite the fact we’re in this nasty recession, people from other provinces, on a net basis, are moving to Alberta. They are still trickling in. That’s good news for the housing market. It’s good news for business and personal services,” said Hirsch in his presentation to members of Central Alberta Rural Manufacturers at Red Deer Lodge on Wednesday night.

Alberta may have an unemployment rate of 7.1 per cent, but if provincial migration is taken out of the equation, the unemployment rate would only be six per cent, not far from five per cent which is considered a balanced job market, he said.

“At three percent, it’s too tight. Employers have to trick people to coming to work for them” said Hirsch, recalling how during Alberta’s recent boom he heard about an oil company giving rig workers a bonus if they showed up to work for five days in a row.

“I don’t want to sound glib for people who are without work at the moment because that is miserable, but the overall job market in Alberta is not that bad.”

Red Deer’s manufacturing sector is in a “soft spot” right now, but Hirsch is optimistic there will be slow growth in 2010.

“A lot of the manufacturing in Central Alberta feeds into that conventional drilling activity. When gas prices are low, drilling is down. When drilling is down, there’s not as much need for all the fabricated materials that go into it.”

But manufacturers in Red Deer are small enough to adapt and take on different lines of production, even though diversity never seems to stick when oil and gas prices soar.

“We always want to diversify, then in the boom years — forget diversification. We’re all too busy getting rich off of oil and gas money.”

Companies that aren’t involved in oil and gas actually get crowded out of the market, unable to hire workers because everyone is going into the oil and gas sector, he said.

“We’re a resource economy.”

Just Posted

Rural transit service rolled out

2A South Regional Transit will link Innisfail and Penhold with Red Deer

Some Red Deer waste collection schedules change due to holiday season

Tuesday collections will be moved for two weeks

Red Deer ‘champion’ helps hospital by sharing ongoing petition

It’s been about three years since many physicians at Red Deer Regional… Continue reading

Red Deer Airport’s prospects are looking up for 2019

Ultra-low-cost passenger service is on the horizon

Funding down for Red Deer Christmas charities

Food hampers and toys for children going out to those in need

Alberta’s Sundial starts shipping to AGLC this week

Sundial’s Rocky View facility has received the green light from Health Canada… Continue reading

Penny Marshall dead at 75, best known as TV’s Laverne and director of ‘Big,’ ‘A League of Their Own’

Bronx-born Penny Marshall, who found ’70s sitcom success on “Laverne and Shirley”… Continue reading

Chabot scores overtime winner to lift Senators over Predators 4-3

OTTAWA — Thomas Chabot saw an opening and he took it. And… Continue reading

Canadian Marielle Thompson earns World Cup ski cross bronze in season opener

AROSA, Switzerland — Canada’s Marielle Thompson captured bronze at the opening World… Continue reading

Canada doesn’t make Oscars short list for best foreign language film

LOS ANGELES — Canada is no longer in the running for best… Continue reading

Warrant issued for arrest of ‘Schwimmer lookalike’ suspect

LONDON — A British judge has issued an arrest warrant for an… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Most Read