Economy will weather sliding oil prices say financial analysts

CALGARY- As politicians and oil executives scramble to cope with a major slide in oil prices, some financial analysts say Alberta’s economy will be okay in the long-term.

“Markets right now are a little jittery,” said Imran Mulji of Acumen Capital Partners. “We’re just telling our clients to step back, take a breather, and really look at it from a long-term time horizon.”

Todd Hirsch, the chief economist at Alberta Treasury Branches (ATB) Financial also says the economy should continue growing despite the slowdown. Hirsch says the province’s GDP should still grow by 2.5% next year. He does say while he doesn’t a fear a looming recession, the slumping oil prices will make for a difficult few months.

“A lot of contract work that oil and gas companies seek outside did see a big drop… that was November,” said Hirsch. “I expect we’re going to see more layoffs in the coming months.”

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It’s a projection shared by Mark Scholz, president of the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors.

“We always talk about every right that’s working equates to about 135 direct and indirect jobs,” said Scholz. “So when you see the overall activity for drilling programs decreasing, you’re going to see a ripple effect.”

One tradesperson said while he expects there may be significant layoffs in the oilpatch, he doesn’t expect a work shortage in the city.

“I don’t think I am going to run out of work,” said David Patterson, a third-year electrician. “We work construction and we work in Calgary,” he laughed.

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