March 19, 2020

Financial Post: Anxiety mounts among Albertans as province faces ‘profound adversity’ not seen since the 1930s

CALGARY – Alex Richardson has lost count, but he believes he’s applied for thousands of jobs in the 10 months he’s been out of work. Thousands of applications, for everything from web developer and doing inventory, to customer service and fast food, yet he’s had less than 10 interviews.

“I tailor every resumé and every cover letter to every job I apply for, because that’s what we’re told to do,” said the 37-year-old Albertan, who had been working in customer service until May 2019. He said he is willing to work anywhere and do anything.

The long stretch between jobs has Richardson struggling with anxiety, as many are in Alberta’s fragile economy, which was already suffering before the energy sector received a one-two punch from the reduction in demand for oil caused by the coronavirus and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia that is flooding the market with cheap crude.

Many of the province’s largest employers, including the oil and gas industry and homegrown WestJet Airlines Ltd., are being hit particularly hard by the decline in oil demand and tourism. Yet the carnage has extended across the economy: bars have been ordered to close, ski resorts and tourism operators in mountain towns such as Banff have also closed down and many construction projects have ground to a halt.

Image: Financial Post


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