One economist says while Alberta isn’t likely still in a recession, it may feel like a recession to anyone still suffering from a downturn in the economy.
Anupam Das, economist and associate professor at Mount Royal University, told the Gazette there are some indicators that show the economy is close to a recession but the province is currently on the other side of the one that hit in 2014.
Das said many people may still be feeling the sting of that downtown.
“When people are evaluating the economy, often they look at their own situation,” Das said, and if people are unemployed they will feel like the economy is bad, irrespective of the actual realities of the job market.
Das added anxiety sets in in Alberta and across Canada when oil prices are low, which can shake the confidence of residents and business across all industries.
“Many other industries in Alberta particularly are very well connected to the oil industry ... overall there is an impact on the economy,” Das said, which all contribute to a lack of confidence in the economy.
The economist said the current economic situation in the province is driven by both the global price in oil and the ability of the government to navigate the volatility of the market.
“We cannot control the fluctuation itself but we can try to smooth out that fluctuation,” Das said, adding the boom-bust cycle has been repeating in Alberta for years.
“We have the tendency to forget that there is always a possibility that one day the oil price can go down and it can effect us negatively,” Das said.
Right now, the province is in a bit of uncharted territory when it comes to the economy.
Das said there is always a possibility the oil price will go back to the high levels we have seen in the past, but as an economist he said the province should try to diversify and bank less on an industry that relies so heavily on outside factors.
“This is the time that the economy needs to diversify. It’s important we diversify our economy and create an educated work force,” Das said.
After closely watching the election rhetoric over the last few weeks, Das said many parties are offering solutions that may work out on paper but once they are implemented they may not work out so well. Das said the economy is complex and while the numbers might work out on paper as an election promise, we won't know how good the ideas are until they are tested in the real world with all of the economic factors at play.