Which way is up?

By Geoff Lee

March 9, 2017 11:00 AM

It may be spring breakup season for the oil and gas sector,  but the jobs front seems unnaturally quiet.
On the Saskatchewan government’s employment website Saskjobs.ca on March 8, of 686 oil and gas industry job postings, not one was for a Lloydminster company.
There are a few road signs posted in the city asking for resumes, but it seems the need for oil workers has vanished into thin air.
That’s odd given the fact some service rig companies the Source has spoken with are having a hard time recruiting experienced staff for work in progress, or anticipated work after breakup.
There is an air of optimism in the local sector with nearly three months of Husky maintenance turnarounds set to begin in April.
Hundreds of tradespeople will be spending time and money in the city well into the summer.
Husky also just had an open house to reveal their proposed plans for a new asphalt refinery near the Lloydminster Husky Upgrader.
That project will generate up to 800 construction jobs at peak and 50 full-time jobs once the facility is operational.
The reality may be that the local economy is lagging behind the optimism and upcoming prospects in the oil sector.
Then again it could just be spring breakup at its slowest.
The Salvation Army Food Bank, though, is reporting 30 families a week on average have been accessing food bank services recently.
Non-profit organizations are regularly reporting that it’s getting harder to raise funds this year than in previous years.
We’ve also seen the closure of some mom and pop style retailers who may have been squeezed out by Big Box retailers with 24/7 operating capability and buying power.
On the other hand, the local agricultural sector is alive and well with another growing season coming up quickly.
On March 14, financial expert and media celebrity Angus Watt will be in Lloydminster to deliver a talk about Alberta’s new reality.
Let’s hope he can shed some light at the end of the proverbial tunnel on what is going on during his address to the 17th annual Business Education Conference at the Lloydminster Golf and Curling Centre.
Watt may have that crystal ball that we all need to take a peak at to see where we are heading.
I’m betting it’s up.

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