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.”

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Sasktachewan pup, who has extensive burns, makes her way to Red Deer

Donations accepted for Phoenix who has third degree burns on her body

Man dead in ATV collision in central Alberta

The Rocky Mountain House RCMP are investigating a quad rollover collision that… Continue reading

One airlifted to hospital after avalanche on glacier in Yoho National Park

LAKE LOUISE, Alta. — Parks Canada says it has responded to an… Continue reading

Hundreds of Canadian troops deployed to flood zones in Quebec and N.B.

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier Francois Legault will visit flood-damaged regions north of… Continue reading

WATCH: An ‘Eggstemely Fun Easter’ at Bower Place in Red Deer

Bower Place mall made sure Red Deer families were able to have… Continue reading

‘The Curse of La Llorona’ reigns over weekend box office

LOS ANGELES — “The Curse of La Llorona” (yuh-ROH’-nuh) had only good… Continue reading

New Brunswick premier urges caution as floodwaters continue to rise

FREDERICTON — Rising floodwaters have forced the closure of at least 25… Continue reading

Witnesses still struggling one year after deadly Yonge Street van attack

TORONTO — The survivor guilt settled in moments after he saw all… Continue reading

‘Shocking violation’: Parish prepares to re-bury remains after grave plundered

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Largely untended for decades, the toppled and faded… Continue reading

President attends Easter service following slew of tweets

PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump is using Easter morning to… Continue reading

Easter Sunday blasts kill at least 207 in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — At least 207 people were killed and hundreds… Continue reading

Soldiers deploying to flood-prone areas as water levels rise in New Brunswick

FREDERICTON — About 120 Canadian soldiers will soon be deployed in western… Continue reading

Soldiers deploy across Quebec after flood-caused sinkhole claims woman’s life

MONTREAL — Canadian Armed Forces are deploying in three regions across Quebec,… Continue reading

Most Read