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Alberta's Economy is Back and Diversified! Really?
This Season's Concluding Webinar
Thursday MAY 26th
June 2nd 5:00-7:00 MT
107 8 Ave SE, Calgary
Last week's webinar - "LEADERSHIP. Options for Restoring Order in the Face of Relentless Chaos" can be watched HERE https://youtu.be/q6EVfx_I9aU The presenters explored the definition, the need, and options for restoring order in the face of so much chaos in the world today. Doug Firby discussed what is leadership, who has garnered such recognition and why. Robert Walker explored the many and various sources and forces of change contributing to the current chaos and the importance of "values" in defining great leaders. Peter Stockland, using the example of homelessness, ever present in our urban environments, and discussed the failures of knowledge and the importance of honesty and integrity by leaders in confronting some of the challenges of our times. The follow-on public discussion enriched their insights.
Alberta's Economy is Back and Diversified! Really?
I'd like to dedicate this newsletter to a good news story - Alberta's economic recovery, cause to congratulate a few - namely, Calgary and its progress in diversifying it's economy. And cause to Celebrate - join us June 2nd 5:00 at Milestones 107 8 Ave SE, Calgary near the TELUS Convention Centre. But first some background.
Boom or bust? Alberta's economy was not diversified, jobs and corporate investment were vulnerable to shocks in the price of oil. The boom-bust cycle of the province was well known and similar to other oil economies - difficult if not impossible to fix. We cared; but what to do - other than save for rainy days.
We took the problem of a lack of diversity, volatility, vulnerability, to heart and felt the problem was so important as to warrant attention between elections. That is - "Measure what you value!" So we sought to find a credible index so we could poke whoever a couple of times a year. The measure would also be used to learn about the status of economic resilience and a measure of what works in diversifying the economy.
We conferred with government and research universities. The search for a measure of economic diversification in short was fruitless. We ultimately opted to ask Albertans - that is, to survey the sentiment of Albertan's. The rational was that the views of Alberta's voters, citizens, consumers, were a more valid measure of Alberta's economic diversity/ resilience than any set of economic measures.
Since 2015 we - then the Alberta Council of Technologies Society, designed and conducted a standard, on-line, semi-annual survey of "the sentiment" of the Network of over 20,000 contacts. What did we find and what did we learn? First, the sentiment as expected followed closely the price of oil - rising as the price of oil rose and falling otherwise.
The most sensitive sentiment measures were consistent: job related, corporate investment followed by migration. A negative sentiment was consistent since 2015 across most economic sectors: industries, professions, and public services. Typically the least negative sector, that is the most resilient, was industry. The most negative were public services - heavily reliant on oil revenues.
Sentiment also varied between the province's Regions with the Edmonton Region least vulnerable but slowest to recover. This was attributed to the Region's heavy concentration of public services (health, education, government). Most vulnerable reflecting a quick and steep decline but fastest to recover was the Calgary Region - given it's concentration of oil related industries and more recently, the impact of accumulated investment and growth in non-energy related industries. Congratulations Calgary!
We also learned that the favoured roles for government were in policy formulation, applying small business incentives, and long-term - job creating, research and to a lesser extent in employing procurement practices. Least were short term measures including direct investment projects. The overall sentiment as of 2021 is summarized in the KEI Network's conclusion to the fall 2021 sentiment survey and foretold well what we are experiencing today.
That was then. This is now. "Alberta is back!" At least that's the sentiment expressed in recent media articles and by Angus Watt of National Bank Financial in a keynote delivered to attendees of the recent conference of the Alberta Hemp Association.
This Thursday's webinar is to dig deeper into the view that Alberta is more diversified and/or whether Alberta's economic recovery is simply the by-product of several extraordinary events driving up the value and price of oil.
NOTE this is concluding webinar of our '21/'22 series. Not to fret, we will notify you in September commencing our '22/'23 series with an in-depth exploration of Alberta Healthcare. If you have an experience or viewpoint to share, please reply to Editor@KEInetwork.net. Otherwise, enjoy every moment of the summer.
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