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Alberta Health Services, grocery stores, delivery companies among those looking to hire

Some Calgary businesses hiring during economic slowdown
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney expects the unemployment rate will hit at least 25 per cent because of the COVID-19 crisis. But as Christa Dao reports, some sectors aren’t only weathering the storm, they’re actually thriving.

Alberta premier Jason Kenney is predicting bleak days ahead for Alberta’s economy — projecting the unemployment rate to hit at least 25 per cent and half a million Albertans facing unemployment.

However, there is a silver lining for some sectors in Alberta and some sectors are not only weathering the storm, but they’re also looking to hire.

READ MORE: Alberta data showing up to 3,100 deaths prompts province to increase beds, ventilators

Alberta Health Services recently put out a call on its website — looking to hire front line health workers. On Wednesday, AHS said it has received over 4,100 applications and will be filling roles as needs for specific skills in specific areas are identified.

“We recognize the roles of highest need will be licensed healthcare professionals, such as registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and physicians,” read a statement.

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“We are reviewing all applications as part of our planning, which also includes internal redeployment, to ensure we have the staff we need where we need them to continue to respond to COVID-19.”

Calgary businesses worry about future amid COVID-19 slowdown
Calgary businesses worry about future amid COVID-19 slowdown

According to Indeed Jobsite economist Brendon Bernard, the healthcare sector has been insulated.

“It comes down to sectors that are holding relatively well, where declines have not been as drastic, so no surprise, health care has held up reasonably well,” Bernard said.

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He added the jobs they’re seeing aren’t only for medical professionals but also for jobs in-home healthcare, support and personal support workers and healthcare aids.

Bernard said industries they’re seeing weather the economic storm include software development, public protection services like security guards, and grocery stores and deliveries.

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“Especially with home deliveries and people are trying to self-isolate,” Bernard said.

“Home deliveries are more important than ever. Those key companies have seen an increase in job seekers.”

Those companies include Blush Lane Organic Market and Spud.ca delivery which have reported seeing increases of 100 to 200 per cent from last year, said director of food Paul McGreevy.

McGreevy said his staff is growing and employees have been very busy working to keep the shelves fully stocked and food orders delivered.

READ MORE: Looking for a job? Economists say companies still hiring during coronavirus outbreak

“I think the message from federal government and local municipalities and health officials is we need to be responsible and that’s caused a spike,” McGreevy said.

“People are looking at ways not to leave the home and potentially put their family members or loved ones at risk.”

The sister companies are looking to hire dozens of positions in all areas of their business, including in retail, warehouse, and the logistics department. As well, they’re looking for delivery drivers and people in management positions, he said, adding that Spud.ca delivery orders are about 10 days to two weeks back-ordered, depending where in the province you live.

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“With more bodies in, we can potentially provide more orders… because of the amount of growth that we’ve seen, it’s constantly growing and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down,” McGreevy said.

‘They’re going to be really bad’: Kenney warns Albertans to be ready for new job numbers Thursday
‘They’re going to be really bad’: Kenney warns Albertans to be ready for new job numbers Thursday

Other larger grocery chains like WalMart was looking to hire more than 10,000 workers back in mid-March. The same goes for retail giant Amazon, which was looking to fill around 100,000 jobs to keep up with demand.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Amazon to hire 100,000 workers, raise wages amid online order surge

As for other industries that haven’t fared as well, Bernard said it’s especially challenging with falling oil prices, especially in Alberta, and according to Indeed data, there are fewer job postings in Alberta compared to other provinces.

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“It shows up in our data that the trend decline in Alberta is actually a bit more severe than it has in other provinces,” he said.

Bernard said the trend since last Friday in job postings was about 35 per cent below what it was running at in 2019. 
“It’s a really immense shock to the labour market and it’s really going to require getting the COVID-19 situation under control before we can start to recover,” he said.