Shrinking economy continues to concern Calgarians
A bleak economic forecast released earlier this week suggests Alberta's economy is shrinking. Now, the Bank of Canada says the same is true of the nation.
It all points to an economic recovery that's moving slower than everyone hoped.
Calgarian Brian Mavin fought the wildfires in Fort McMurray and came up with an idea to build his own business. He bought a mobile forest fighting rig, which includes a tank, pump, two hoses and the ability to spray foam to extinguish wildfires.
“I can drag that in with my quad and deal with hot spots,” said Mavin. “But the biggest problem is finding money to get the extra stuff you need.”
Finding money is a problem because Mavin was laid off a year ago from his job as a safety technician. He's picked up some temporary work, including firefighting, but his employment insurance, and last source of cash, is about end.
Mavin is not alone. The Bank of Canada now says the nation's economy shrunk this quarter.
While layoffs have slowed here, more and more severances are running out, along with employment insurance benefits, and thousands of Albertans are strapped.
Insolvency trustee with Grant Thornton, Angela Lock, says it's especially tough for older workers
“There is nowhere for them to turn. They are having a lot of issues in the sense that they've always had really good jobs, and high-paying jobs, and now they're barely making ends meet, or making end meet at all and having to rely on family,” said Lock.
Calgary's housing market also continues to be bumpy. A new Royal LePage survey shows prices are lower this year than last, but not by much; cheaper houses are still selling.
“We're obviously still affected by the energy sector and what's happening there but at the same time, we've managed to keep pretty buoyant with our prices, simply because of the amount of sales that are coming under the $500,000 range,” said Corinne Lyall of Royal LaPage Benchmark.
Meanwhile, Mavin is still applying for jobs.
“Being that there is so many people out of work right now, every time I put a resume in , I get a look every now and then, but not very often because there lots more people just like me looking for work,” said Mavin.
He hopes he finds it, and eventually earns enough to be his own boss.
(With files from Chris Epp)