More bad news for the oilpatch sector

Red Deerians hoping to get back to work in the oil and gas industry may need to look elsewhere for employment.

Red Deerians hoping to get back to work in the oil and gas industry may need to look elsewhere for employment.

A recent survey by recruitment firm Hays Canada suggests a third of oil and gas industry employers are expecting another below-average year.

“The worst thing for people to do is to wait and expect another boom to happen. I think people that find success are the ones that use creative ways to find new work, tap into new markets, or diversify themselves in that way,” said Reg Warkentin, policy and advocacy manager for the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce.

Some 65 per cent of businesses surveyed were forced to cut staff this year, and about 28 per cent of energy-sector employers expect to hire fewer people in 2017 than in 2016.

“It’s not really a huge surprise, considering what our economy has been going through,” said Warkentin.

Although the oil and gas industry isn’t creating employment numbers like it used to, Warkentin said there are jobs to be had in Red Deer, and employment numbers back up his claim.

“It wasn’t that long ago that our unemployment rate was 10 per cent, and I think the last numbers had us at about 6.5 per cent. To put things in perspective, things are looking pretty good,” said Warkentin.

He said it’s hard to believe unemployment in this city could get any worse than it has been since the downturn in 2014. He said people are starting to realize that.

“When you look around the city, and when you talk to people, generally speaking, they have a much better outlook on the economy than they did six months ago,” said Warkentin.

Figures released Monday by the Alberta government suggest the province added 25,000 jobs in the second quarter, from July 1 to Sept. 30.

Since 2014, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers estimates at least 44,000 direct jobs have been lost in the oil and gas industry.

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