#DownturnDiaries: ATB Financial economist urges Calgarians to stay positive through downturn

Todd Hirsch calls economic slump a normal cycle that will soon be over

downturnthumb2Todd Hirsch, chief economist at ATB Financial, hopes that people will stay positive during this downturn and understand that fluctuations in oil price represent a normal cycle for our province.

"I really kind of encourage people not to be too worried about what is happening right now, not to panic. Not to mean that we shouldn't make careful decisions, but worry and fear only lead to bad decision making. So I always caution people that although it is unpleasant, this is a normal cycle for Alberta and we just need to bear down and get through it," Hirsch said in a recent phone interview. Some answers in the following Q & A have been edited for length and clarity.

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#DownturnDiaries: City of Calgary planner talks about downturn strategy

Sarah Woodgate explains six-point strategy

downturnthumb2Sarah Woodgate is manager of the City of Calgary's Action Plan, a plan that maps out the city's infrastructure and services plan over the next four years.

Woodgate says she does not view the economic downturn as unbearable. Working for the city since 2001, Woodgate is in charge of the plan designed to lead the city through economic uncertainty.

In a recent telephone Q & A interview, Woodgate offered her perspective on the city's approach to the downturn. The Q & A has been edited for length and clarity.

In a general sense, what does this downturn mean for our city in regards to development?

In terms of development, the City of Calgary during this downturn has an opportunity to catch up with infrastructure for growth and maintenance. We are targeting to maintain city services as they were approved in December throughout the downturn and continue to evaluate what is happening in the economy because we are in a time of uncertainty right now. And so, it is about being prepared to respond.

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#DownturnDiaries: SAIT student worried about lack of employment opportunities in oil and gas

How further education is becoming increasingly appealing as jobs become unavailable for graduating students

downturnthumb2In just a few short weeks, Caitlin Kerr, 21, will be graduating from the Energy Asset Management program at Calgary's SAIT Polytechnic, a program Kerr originally entered because she thought it would springboard her into a variety of jobs in the oil and gas industry. But now, due to the current economic downturn, Kerr fears that there will be no room for her once she graduates in April.

Kerr entered into the program on the advice of a friend's mom who works in oil and gas and told her that a diploma in Energy Asset Management would allow her to do pretty much anything she wanted to do in oil and gas.

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#DownturnDiaries: Laid-off oil worker faces career crossroad

Curtis Bender was hit with the direct consequences of dropping oil prices but he is trying to find the brighter side

downturnthumb2"We were supposed to work all year around — our rig — and within the course of a week they told us that we didn't have any work for spring. 'Yeah, okay no big deal. We'll work 'til April and shut 'er down.' That was November-ish. That's when they started saying, 'Hey guys we're slowing down.' Literally a week later we were just going to finish this year and we'll see. Last day was January 8 I think. Over the course of two weeks it went from boom, boom, boom to we're all getting laid off."
– Curtis Bender, roughneck with Precision Drilling.

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