Locals wouldn't have predicted recession a year ago
Medicine Hat News
Three local business experts agree they would never have thought that nine months or so ago that they’d ever see Alberta headed for a $1 billion deficit and technical recession.
But now that’s it’s happened, they’d prefer to be in Alberta with it’s combined $22 billion in reserves — the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund (approximately $14 billion) and the Alberta Sustainability Fund (approximately $8 billion).
Jacquie Penner, dean of business at the Medicine Hat College, told the News Thursday that given the world economic situation right now, it’s not a surprise to her at all that Alberta is feeling the pressure from the global economic downturn.
“I think on the other side of it though, that here in Alberta, we have the kind of economy that yes we’re going to do some suffering, and yes we’re going to lose some jobs, and yes unemployment is going to go up,” she said.
“But we’re going to be so much better off than everybody else, and I think we need to remind ourselves of that.”
Penner credited the provincial government for having undertaken numerous initiatives that she says really are designed to help Albertans fare as well as possible through the present ordeal.
Those include the recently announced infrastructure initiatives and, on the post-secondary education side, a commitment to follow through on its nine-point plan to diversify the economy through technological development, the commercialization of technology and entrepreneurship in technology.
Alderman and acting mayor Ted Clugston just hopes the present downturn will be a short-lived one.
“I never thought six months ago that it would happen this quickly and I’d have said that it absolutely wouldn’t happen. So I’m hoping in a year from now that I’m not still having this discussion with the News,” he stressed.
“Locally, Medicine Hat seems to be weathering the storm, but that doesn’t take away from the reality that there are people here who have already lost their jobs.”
Clugston said he was somewhat heartened Thursday to hear that the price of a barrel of oil had moved up 12 per cent, and that one reason was that supplies are going down because there’s much less drilling going on right now.
As for an estimated 15,000 job losses throughout 2009 in Alberta, Clugston feels unfortunate that many are people who are probably new to the province and now may have to leave.
The city’s business development officer, Keith Crush, said that although the city has a pretty diverse economy, the local energy sector will continue to be a challenge for the foreseeable future.
Like Penner, he appreciates the province’s commitment to new technologies and related initiatives.
“I appreciate that it’ll take awhile to work its way through, but the fact they they’re putting investment into technology development probably bodes well in the longer term,” he said.
“In the short-term, it probably won’t stimulate a lot, but it will keep those local firms that are maybe at that point right now, a good kick-start and the opportunity to grow their businesses.”
How sad it is that bloggers across Canada have been talking about this for about 2 years, if not longer, and yet the so-called experts had no idea? UN FRICKEN REAL. We pay these goofs... that is sad.