Todd Hirsch Returns To Wetaskiwin With Good News At JEDI Breakfast

Pipestone Flyer

Barry McDonald & Christina Hovde

In February, 2012, Todd Hirsch, a highly respected speaker, instructor and Senior Economist with ATB was brought in by the Wetaskiwin and District Chamber of Commerce to share his assessment of the economy and provide predictions for future.

At that time, the entire world economy was in turmoil. Canada was experiencing a slowdown in its economy. Canadians felt we were back into a recession and at risk. As a very trade-dependent nation, Canada was captive to the economic state of its global trade partners—particularly the United States – who were facing growing increasing debt and deficits. Media reports at the time were stating the USA was in a crisis situation, but Hirsch viewed it as, “Contrary to media reports, the country (USA) is in trouble, but not in crisis.” However, he also added that the challenges the USA was facing created parallel challenges for Canada.

Amid the doom and gloom news, Hirsch left Chamber members with some comforting advice. “Although the province did seem somewhat immune from the global softness in 2011, (because of the demand for oil) the fate of the province’s economy in the coming year still depends on what happens elsewhere. Alberta has bucked the global trends with an economy that actually picked up steam over the year. The game plan for Alberta in 2012 is to be moderate economic growth, likely holding around 3%, which is not bad. Although we may be in market turmoil, the economy is adjusting to a steady and new normal.”

So, two years and four months later, Hirsch returned to Wetaskiwin, this time the guest of JEDI, the Wetaskiwin and District Chamber of Commerce and ATB with news that aligned with his earlier predictions.

Christina Hovde, summer student at the Wetaskiwin Heritage Museum, summarized Hirsch’s return to Wetaskiwin; “On Tuesday morning, June 17th, ATB Financial, JEDI, and the Wetaskiwin & District Chamber of Commerce hosted a Business and Industry Breakfast welcoming ATB Financial Chief Economist, Todd Hirsch, to Montgomery Glens Club House as a guest speaker. Hirsch has been recognized as one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People. Having spent some time living in Wetaskiwin as a child, Hirsch indicated that he was pleased to have been invited back to speak.

Approximately 40 early-rising individuals arrived at Montgomery Glens at 7:30 am to partake in a breakfast buffet followed by an insightful presentation on Alberta’s economy that consisted of two parts.

First, Hirsch discussed three illusions of Alberta’s economy: job growth rate, inflation levels, and regional transfers of wealth. Job availability is growing in all areas, Hirsch admitted, but the largest growth is actually at the top and bottom. Finding a job in Alberta is not as easy as it may seem. The demand for employees in the low service sector and at the upper skilled sector remains strong while employees seeking work in the middle are finding it challenging.

Likewise, inflation rates in Alberta appear to be extremely high, yet Statistics Canada’s numbers indicate it is fairly low. The last illusion, concerning regional transfers of wealth, points towards the apparent distribution of wealth away from Alberta. However, Hirsch suggested that Alberta is, in fact, gaining capital in another form – labor. Alberta is accepting highly educated and skilled immigrants which means the province does not have to shoulder the Grade One through Post-Secondary education and training expenses of qualified and trained workers to prepare them for employment.

The second portion of Hirsch’s talk encompassed his forecast for Alberta’s economy in 2015 and the last half of 2014. Touching on four of Alberta’s major industries, Hirsch suggests that Alberta’s economy will have another good year. He predicts that pipeline projects will become more certain, agriculture is in for another prosperous year, non-residential building will increase, and consumer confidence, which is currently extremely high, will continue to remain so.

In addition to addressing the three illusions of Alberta’s economy, Hirsch revealed a few other key points.

Retail is reaching new heights every month, including restaurant and bar revenues. Consumer confidence will level off in 2014. Non-residential construction will remain strong in 2014 but will be a little more moderate. Energy pipelines will see more certainty on projects. The Dollar will strengthen in the second half of 2014 to $0.92 – $0.94, which is the best level to support foreign exports. Interests rates will rise at the end of next year, but the increase will be moderate. Cost of homes will increase 11.5%, and food 12.3%. Average wage in the oil sector is $2077 per week, compared to provincial average of $925 per week, with the food and accommodation service industry $420 per week. Lastly, Hirsch commented that the oil sector creates 15% of new jobs in Canada.

Hirsch left the audience with a feeling that Canada, the USA, the world, but especially Alberta are on a steady road to financial recovery. He cautioned how the economy is linked worldwide, and issues that are going on in locations like Iraq and Ukraine/Russia have an impact on our economy. Unfortunately, issues like the war in Iraq creates concern about energy supplies, but this has a positive impact on Alberta and Canada’s economy as an energy provider.

For more detailed information about predictions and solutions regarding the present and future state of our economy go his website www.toddhirsch.com.

Just Posted

(File photo from The Canadian Press)
Red Deer down to 66 active COVID-19 cases

Red Deer has lowest number of active cases since last November

File photo
Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate fatal collision

One fatality in a serious collision on Highway 2A on June 18, 2021.

Participants in Rock Soup Food Bank’s fundraising drag race that took place on June 20, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ PipestoneFlyer.
Rock Soup Food Bank fundraises with literal drag race down main-street

Participants ran in drag down Wetaskiwin’s main street as a fundraiser for the food bank.

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

A pair of Alberta residents were arrested after police responded to a report of a woman who had allegedly been assaulted and confined against her will on June 20, 2021. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP arrest 2 Albertans suspected in alleged assault, unlawful confinement

Firearms, stolen items seized including NHL hockey cards believed to be worth thousands

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians encouraged to see mRNA shots as interchangeable as more 2nd doses open up

Doctors urge people not to hesitate if offered Moderna after getting Pfizer for their first shot

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference in Ottawa on June 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Defence committee rises without report on Vance allegations

Committee had been investigating the government’s handling of complaints against former defence chief

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

Most Read