2018-23-04 Rotary Buzz - Noon Meeting
Speaker -Nick Ford, ATB Financial
Topic -Economy
 
 
Lou opened the meeting at 11:45 am.
 
 
Health of the Club – Good.
 
Announcements:
  • Gala May 5th, Update:
    • 160 tickets sold, we're still optimistic we can reach 180-200 goal.
    • 65 silent auction items and waiting for confirmation on 5-6 live auctions.
    • Please let Shirley know if you have any gift cards.
    • Setup is at 9 am at the Norseman Inn, any and all volunteers are welcome.
    • Kevin Sorenson will be MC and Auctioneer.
 
Feature Presentation:
Nick Ford, Economist - ATB Financial
 
 
2015-2016, our energy industry was the hardest hit with tens of thousands of Albertans losing their jobs.  It was the worst recession in 30 years.  In 2017, economic growth started to stabilize. 
 
Alberta is starting to see a 4% growth and the energy sector is starting to show signs of life and consumers are showing confidence.  Nick focused on  a few important segments of Alberta's economy:
 
Oil & Gas
 
 
This industry represents 1/3 of our economy and is the main driver.  Last year, oil averaged $51 per barrel, in 2018 it will average $63-$65 per barrel.  That is 25% higher than it was last year.  
 
New projects related to non-conventional extraction like the oil sands facilities which will help boost overall investments into the province.  Changes will continue to be made with green technology and renewable resources.  This Industry was known as the growth engine of our economy.  It has now become the backbone and still remains an important sector.
 
 
Housing & Building
 
This industry remains in a decline.  There is a significant pullback in non-residential building permits.  it is slightly offset by government, institutional and some residential permits. 
 
Home builders are also seeing a pullback due in large part to tighter rules on mortgage lending and higher interest rates that are coming later this year.
 
Retail
 
Debit and credit cards were busy in January as sales reached a record high of $6.8 billion due to higher employment rates and higher incomes. It shows a strength in our provincial economy but we will see some pullback as the year progresses.
 
Food & Beverage
 
Spending in this industry has increased every year since 2010, even during the recession.  In 2017, Alberta was ranked the second highest per capita among the provinces, BC being the first.  
 
This higher spending is due in large part to higher menu costs.  Food costs grew to almost 3% and was a direct result of higher wage costs.  Even with higher costs, this did not dissuade Albertans from eating outside the home.  We spent $217 million and this trend should continue throughout the year.
 
Labor Market
 
2017 ended on a high note with 26,600 new jobs added in December.  This pushed the unemployment rate down to 6.9%, the lowest it's been since 2015.  this year has seen 55,000 jobs added with the majority being full-time employment.  
 
Business confidence and overall economic conditions have improved over 2017 and that momentum has resulted in an improved job market for 2018.
 
the industry that was favored with increased jobs are:
  • Manufacturing
  • Wholesale and Retail trades
  • Natural Resource
Those that saw the least or none are:
  • Health
  • Social Assistance
  • Construction
 
 
Though we won't see the economy becoming what it was before the recession, Nick assures us that we will see slow but stable growth in the coming years.
 
 
50/50 – The pot is $632.  Ken Roberts drew the Jack of Spades.
 
Meeting adjourned at 1:00 pm.
 
Next meeting - Noon Meeting, April 30, 2018, 11:45 am.
Club Assembly 
Camrose Resort and Casino