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Posts Tagged ‘alberta

[LINK] “Alberta’s 2015 job losses worst since early 1980s recession: Statscan”

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Continuing the theme of yesterday’s Demography Matters post about Alberta, in today’s issue of The Globe and Mail David Parkinson reports that things in Alberta are now almost unprecedentedly bad.

Alberta suffered its worst year for employment losses since the dark days of the National Energy Program and early 1980s recession, revised labour figures from Statistics Canada show.

Statscan’s annual revisions of its national Labour Force Survey data ratcheted up Alberta’s job losses last year to 19,600, from the 14,600 the statistical agency originally reported in its final 2015 survey released in early January, as the province’s energy-driven economy buckled under the severe drop in oil prices.

Those losses exceed the 17,000 jobs Alberta shed in the Great Recession in 2009. It’s the worst year since 1982, when the province lost more than 45,000 jobs, amid the double whammy of a global recession and the notorious NEP, a federal government program that capped prices, raised taxes and dramatically discouraged investment in the oil patch. A deep decline in investment in the sector has again been the key driver of the job losses in the past year.

Alberta ended 2015 with an unemployment rate of 7.1 per cent – up sharply from 4.8 per cent when the year began. It’s the province’s highest unemployment rate in 20 years.

Worse, most of the Alberta revision reflects a downgrade in full-time employment. Alberta lost 51,000 full-time jobs last year, compared with the originally reported 44,000, as its economy has buckled under the severe drop in oil prices.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 26, 2016 at 5:59 pm

Posted in Canada, Economics

Tagged with , , , ,

[DM] “On Alberta, and Canada, after the end of the oil advantage”

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At Demography Matters, I note about the effect of Alberta’s economic crash on the strained labour market of Canada generally.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 25, 2016 at 11:59 pm

[LINK] “The Alberta NDP vs. budget reality”

Jason Markusoff of MacLean’s looks at the awkward position of the new NDP government in Alberta at this time of recession in the oïlpatch.

Last month, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and her team drew 600 people to a $250-a-head fundraiser in Calgary, a city where “dozens” used to be a respectable turnout for her party’s events. The crowd was dotted with business lobbyists—read: former Tory government aides—who wished more elected members wore name tags. They played an increasingly popular game at Alberta functions: is that a government MLA, or just some guy in an ill-fitting suit?

Notley’s speech drew healthy applause, even if she seemed unconvinced she deserved it all. “Our party, the New Democratic Party of Alberta, has taken on an enormous responsibility in stepping up to government in these times, and you know what? I think so far we’re not doing that bad a job,” the premier said. Cue the claps and hoots. “Okay. It’s arguable I might have asked for that applause just a little bit,” she added.

There’s reason for Notley to feel unworthy of such acclaim. In fact, she downgraded her assessment to “not bad” from the “pretty good” her speechwriter had scripted. Her government in October dropped a $6.1-billion budget deficit, and the first full-year NDP fiscal plan in spring may not be any prettier. That’s predominantly thanks to the ugliest oil price rout in a generation, which also prompted tens of thousands of Alberta layoffs and likely more throughout 2016. It’s hard to blame the recession on the NDP’s would-have-done-them-anyway moves like hiking corporate taxes, reviewing oil and gas royalties and the massive overhaul of emissions rules. It’s easier to say that a combination of them hasn’t helped with business confidence in the young government.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 30, 2015 at 3:20 pm

[LINK] “Ontario to lose equalization payments as Alberta’s economic fortunes fall”

Karen Howlett and Jane Taber in The Globe and Mail report about the unpleasant way in which Ontario is no longer a have-not province.

Ontario will shed its status as a poor cousin of Confederation in the coming years, not because its economic fortunes are rebounding, but because resource-rich Alberta is falling on hard times.

The federal government is expected to announce how much each province will receive in the fiscal year 2016-17 from transfer payment programs, which include equalization, before Finance Minister Bill Morneau meets with his provincial and territorial colleagues in Ottawa on Sunday evening.

The equalization program redistributes national income to help poorer provinces provide services comparable to those of their richer counterparts. But equalization experts say the formula for calculating the payments is slow to respond to changes, including volatile commodity prices, which will leave Alberta carrying a disproportionate burden when the numbers are announced this weekend.

Ontario began receiving equalization for the first time in 2009, a dramatic reversal of fortune for the country’s one-time economic powerhouse. It is now set to reclaim its status as a “have” province because the disparity between its economy and that of Alberta is shrinking.

“What we’re talking about here is the bad way of coming out of equalization,” economist Don Drummond said.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 21, 2015 at 3:20 pm

[LINK] “2 Muslim inmates file rights complaints against Alberta prison”

If Maureen Brosnahan’s CBC report is correct, then Corrections Canada in Alberta has for too long been tolerating the mistreatment of minorities belonging to at least one religious minority. Guess which minority it is?

Two Muslim inmates have filed complaints with the Canadian Human Rights Commission over their treatment at Grande Cache Institution, a federal prison in northwestern Alberta.

Nicolas Hovanesian, 30, and Mohammed Karim, 35, say they have been called terrorists, subjected to racist jokes and refused adequate time for prayers and ceremonies in the prison chapel.

The alleged incidents took place over the past two years.

Hovanesian told CBC News that Mark McGee, a Catholic priest and chaplain for the past nine years at Grande Cache, would cut short their Friday prayers and limit their access to the chapel. “Like Eid,” Hovanesian said. “We were in the middle of our celebrations and he kicked us out of the chapel because there was a Catholic band practice … our religion was trumped because of band practice.”

The men said they were both suspended from the chapel and faced institutional discipline because they refused to call the priest “Father.” While other inmates were allowed to use the washroom in the chapel, Karim said, they were refused access to it to wash before prayers, which is a requirement for Muslims.

In several cases, they said, the priest made disparaging remarks to themselves and others, especially to converts. “Like say, there was a white Muslim, like a convert, he would make comments like, say, ‘You’re white, why are you Muslim, you should be Catholic,'” Hovanesian said.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 4, 2015 at 5:41 pm

[LINK] “The Real Estate Crisis in North Dakota’s Man Camps”

Jennifer Oldham’s Bloomberg article, looking at a real estate bust in a North Dakota that had been enjoying a boom in net migration, evokes Alberta for me.

Chain saws and staple guns echo across a $40 million residential complex under construction in Williston, North Dakota, a few miles from almost-empty camps once filled with oil workers.

After struggling to house thousands of migrant roughnecks during the boom, the state faces a new real-estate crisis: The frenzied drilling that made it No. 1 in personal-income growth and job creation for five consecutive years hasn’t lasted long enough to support the oil-fueled building explosion.

Civic leaders and developers say many new units were already in the pipeline, and they anticipate another influx of workers when oil prices rise again. But for now, hundreds of dwellings approved during the heady days are rising, skeletons of wood and cement surrounded by rolling grasslands, with too few residents who can afford them.

“We are overbuilt,” said Dan Kalil, a commissioner in Williams County in the heart of the Bakken, a 360-million-year-old shale bed, during a break from cutting flax on his farm. “I am concerned about having hundreds of $200-a-month apartments in the future.”

Written by Randy McDonald

September 29, 2015 at 10:11 pm

[LINK] “N.L. oil industry avoiding Alberta-style job losses”

CBC News’ Terry Roberts suggests that the slowdown in the Canadian oil economy has had less of an impact in Newfoundland than in Alberta, mainly because the offshore oil of Newfoundland is less labour-intensive than Alberta’s land-based extraction.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s oil industry is cutting costs and deferring some capital spending, but has avoided Alberta-style cuts that have resulted in thousands of job losses.

A recent report estimated some 35,000 Alberta oilsands jobs have disappeared in the last year. That’s from a directed workforce estimated at nearly 150,000 in 2014.

The axe has not come down quite so hard on oil jobs in this province, where an estimated 10,000 people work directly in the industry.

“We’re talking in the 100 range as opposed to tens of thousands of [job losses] in Western Canada,” said Paul Barnes of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 10, 2015 at 5:56 pm

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