March 31st, 2021
Economic Recovery - Fell back. Springing forward ?
INVITATION TODAY - Zoomed webinar this week 4PM MST Friday April 2nd
SURVEY - Alberta's Economic Resilience - HERE
Join us: share and network, discover and learn.
To view former webinars CLICK HERE
While in the midst of a pandemic, personal circumstances - our health and personal welfare, are of more interest than the economy - jobs and industry GDP. But "recovery" warrants reestablishing both. We are devoting April's weekly newsletters and associated webinars to issues of economic recovery including Alberta's economic resilience and it's innovation ecosystem.
Economic Recovery - Fell back. Springing forward?
Last fall we asked for your impressions of Alberta's economy. Today we are asking you again HERE - our April survey of Alberta's economic diversification. In May we will report on your current sentiment including how it may have changed during Covid and over the last several years. Here is what we know so far from data on your sentiment about Alberta's economic resilience gathered each spring and fall since 2015. First, we are interested in economic resilience as the objective of economic diversification. Resilience is viewed as a measure of the economy's capacity to absorb shocks and recover quickly from downturns.
Surveyed sentiment in the fall of 2020 and since 2015
Alberta's economic resilience is weak, that is, it remains overly vulnerable to shocks specifically affecting the oil and gas industry. This vulnerability is core to sustained interest in Alberta's economic diversification. The gradual improvement since 2015 declined when the price of oil collapsed and Covid struck in 2020. The most sensitive measures of economic resilience have been Corporate Investment and Job related measures - created, lost, and employment. Interest in Migration has increased over the last year.
Economic resilience differs between the province's Regions reflecting their different economies. All Regions are vulnerable to the plight of energy, some more so than others: Calgary, Northern and rural Alberta are most vulnerable given their economies concentration on oil and gas. Calgary is showing signs of recovery ahead of the Edmonton Region. Southern Alberta and to some extent Central Alberta are weathering the downturn best indicating more economic diversity. The downturn in Edmonton lagged and now exceeds all other Regions.
Economic resilience differs considerably between industries, professions, and public services. The pandemic has exaggerated the some of the differences. Industries while weak but are the more resilient overall when compared with Professions and Public Services. Currently the weakest industries are Tourism and Transportation, suffering through measures of social isolation. Most robust are Forestry and Mining. As for the Professions, Engineering is weakest with Legal the most robust. And of the three Sectors Industry, Professions, and Public Services, the weakest overall is Public Services, specifically Healthcare, though all others also appear weak: Education and Research, Environment, and Government. Note all are exposed to the consequences of social isolation.
When asked what role Governments should best play in development of economic resilience, the sentiment is consistent: Policy and small business support and Funding of job creation research.
Sentiment has been consistently high in agreeing that the innovation ecosystem is essential for supporting the survival, growth, retention of small business. The innovation ecosystem has been viewed year-after-year as ineffective, though showing a gradual increase in parallel with increasing measures of economic resilience. While Covid triggered a decrease in the assessment of economic resilience, the ecosystem showed an increase interpreted as reflecting increased appreciation of the importance/ relevance of the innovation ecosystem to advance the province's economic resilience/ diversification. The most sensitive measures of the innovation ecosystem's effectiveness were Leadership and management processes. This is consistent with earlier research identifying Vision and Leadership as the primary impediment to Regional economic development.
So here we are continuing to weather social isolation and the economic consequence of Covid, waiting for the vaccine and herd immunity to take effect, continuing to debate climate change, and the plight and price of carbon for energy; and the role, cost and impact of emerging technologies on public services of heath and education, governance and environment.
This Friday's webinar April 2nd HERE will introduce an open discussion of the information shared above and followed Thursday April 8th with presentations and a discussion on the merit he recent increase in the sale of SMEs to the US.
Please in the meantime visit the economic resilience survey HERE that will be accessible throughout April.
The “laws of physics” making it impossible to supply energy from renewables. Mark Mills works for the fossil-fuel funded Manhattan Institute and rolls out renewable energy myths (e.g. HERE) and rolls out renewable energy myths that have been debunked before. For example claims that the “laws of physics” make it impossible to supply energy from renewables. Scotland reached 90% renewable electricity. Germany! 52% electricity from renewables in 2020, without adding storage. The German grid is one of the most reliable in Europe, and has one of the lowest cost of industrial/wholesale electricity (consumer prices were high even before “Energiewende” to encourage conservation - despite higher costs per kWh. The average German consumer pays no more than an American consumer, due to lower consumption from efficiency). For an alternative view of energy supply check out Jacobson, Mark Z., Mark A. Delucchi, Mary A. Cameron, Brian V. Mathiesen. 2018. Matching demand with supply at low cost in 139 countries among 20 world regions with 100% intermittent wind, water, and sunlight (WWS) for all purposes. Also summarized HERE Thank you Godo Stoyke
The new energy economy. It is always interesting to see comments about wind and solar energy that focus almost entirely on the cost per kwh and conveniently ignore the full life cycle cost and impact associated with such power generation sources. The energy used to mine, extract, transport, process and fabricate the base elements needed for the construction of wind turbines and solar panels as well as the post life disposal are most always omitted from discussion. The landfills in Casper, Wyoming can only handle a limited amount of end of life wind turbines and solar panels. Battery element recovery , not only for energy storage from these generation sources, but for electric vehicle batteries as well, is yet one more aspect of the full life cycle in the renewable energy business.The "footprint" of wind and solar plants is typically not discussed in articles about these power generation sources. This article HERE The Footprint of Energy: Land Use of US Electricity Production adds to the story. Thank you Mel Head
Breaking up the BIGtech Giants. Analogous to smashing a nest of spiders in that the individual occupants will merely go off and create more nests in more places thus creating more spiders, or put another way more apps and mechanisms. In this case (breaking up the techs), government merely solves one problem (supposedly), and by doing so creates even more problems. Is it even or should be a government’s job to do this (break up)? and how, when governments represent individual nations and not the globe is it feasible when the digital world is exactly that, a world, an entire world. Thank you David Hamill
New standards for exploiting natural resources. The future well being of Albertans lies in exploiting our natural resources in a way that meets the standards set for the 21 century. The innovation must be in value added with a twist. Fossil fuels will need to be used in an environmentally sustainable way. So innovation in carbon capture is crucial. Innovation in agriculture and forestry is crucial. And most important, getting our message heard. All my working life I have tried to bring new ideas to the marketplace. It is hard. But hard is what we Albertans are good at. Keep the faith, oil will be back to $100 per barrel and we will become complacent again. Thank you Abe Silverman
Personalization in Healthcare. Access to personal health information by the average individual is considered by some to be empowering. Many people, although they have access to "their" health data as well as related information from a multitude of websites, may not have the skills to properly interpret it themselves. Thank you Mel Head