Alberta will weather unstable oil and gas market

Sinking oil prices and people losing their jobs off is a cause for concern but one analyst is confident the Alberta economy

Ian Glassford

Ian Glassford

Sinking oil prices and people losing their jobs off is a cause for concern but one analyst is confident the Alberta economy will bounce back; it’s just a question of when.

Ian Glassford, chief financial officer with Servus Credit Union, spoke to members of the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce, Tuesday, March 17 on dealing with the low oil prices in the marketplace. He suggests in certain parts of Alberta people are being laid off but many of those labourers are from other provinces.

“There’s a cushion in Alberta, because there is more demand for trades,” said Glassford.

While companies are making some tough decisions to stay afloat, they also might need to think long-term strategies in dealing with the low prices. He says some analysts suggest the economy will bounce back after six months but Glassford could not guarantee that.

He feels the real problem relates to supply and demand. “How it plays out is how you sort out the supply and demand.”

Despite the current troubles, Glassford feels Alberta’s long-term economic picture will be strong considering the demand for oil and how the province has survived past financial downs. He says the short to mid-term picture is not as clear and companies will need make some tough decisions.

Glassford did not advocate laying off employees unnecessarily but also cautioned that employers may need to consider that as an option. He suggested if a company has 16 employees but can only survive the economic upheaval by keeping 14, that may need to be looked at.

“You’re not doing any good if you go bankrupt,” he cautioned. “You’ve got to stay in business, never lose sight of that.”

Glassford also recommended people not be overly concerned about the housing market. He says there are reports showing an influx of homes for sale but the number of houses being bought is dropping. While paying attention to those numbers is important, Glassford says there has not been a mass migration of people, which would affect prices in the housing market.

He feels homeowners may be putting their buildings on the market to see if they can get top dollar for their property.