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techsuch May 9, 2021 0 Comments

Calgary’s economic recovery going to take time, tech: ExpertsAlberta is looking at the possibility of a jobless recovery in 2021, accordingto ATB’s chief economist.Todd Hirsch told Calgary Economic Development’s (CED) economic outlook eventhe expects Alberta’s GDP to contract by 7.1 per cent this year and then bounceback by 3.3 percent in 2021. But unemployment will only improve to 11.0 percent in 2021 from 11.4 per cent this year.“Even though we are expecting some growth to come back to the economy, we arenot expecting the unemployment rate in Alberta to fall back into single digits[in 2021],” Hirsch said Tuesday. “That might take until 2023 or maybe evenlonger.”Story continues below advertisementHirsch called it “a lost decade” of jobs, dating back to the economy’sprevious high of 2014.“That is really challenging because we have to be focused entirely on jobs inour community and how we create those jobs,” Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said.> “But putting in the building blocks for what happens next matters.”CED president and CEO Mary Moran said Calgary’s economy is facing threechallenges on top of the coronavirus pandemic — the restructuring of the oilindustry, the drop in oil prices because of recent price wars, and the fall ineconomic activity due to COVID-19.Moran also said there is a paradigm shift underway.“The world is transforming at a scale and a speed never seen before, and ouraccepted assumptions are being challenged on everything from the economy tothe way we work to social justice,” Moran told the virtual conference. “And atthe same time, we are pushing the limits of technology and innovation beyondwhat was even possible just a few years ago.> “The ‘white space’ of today is the opportunity for digital transformation.”A CED study commissioned in 2019 forecasted Calgary companies would leaddigital transformation across all sectors by 2022 to the tune of $18.4billion.Story continues below advertisement“Digital transformation isn’t waiting for anyone,” Moran said Tuesday. “It’shappening globally and it’s happening here. And in Calgary, we are already onthe road to a digital economy.”Moran said the doubling of tech companies in Calgary by 2030 signals a techboom.But Platform Calgary has a higher goal — tripling the size of the innovationecosystem in the same time period, resulting in 1000 large tech companies and2000 startups.“Every industry is being transformed through technology,” Terry Rock, PlatformCalgary president and CEO, told Global News. “And, in Calgary alone, we havehundreds of companies that are building technology that can be used to makethe energy sector more efficient, more effective, cleaner. We’ve got companiesthat make ag[riculture] more effective and cleaner. We’ve got fintech[financial technology] companies here.> “It’s a very wide and diverse set of startup companies that are here.”But the existing supports for tech startups don’t fit a city Calgary’s size.Story continues below advertisement“Compared to other jurisdictions, we have relatively immature capitalformation,” Platform Calgary board chair Evan Hu said. “It’s underweight. Itis active. There’s good things happening, but it should be five times largerfor a city of our size.”CED identified four “emerging and growth clusters” in the city: tourism,creative industries, life sciences and health, and financial services.The business development organization expects agribusiness, transportation andlogistics, and the energy industry to continue to play major roles in theeconomy.ATB’s chief economist says the energy industry’s role, however, has changed.“It used to be the growth engine of our province, going back to the early partof the last decade of 2010-2014,” Hirsch said Tuesday. “Now it is a backbone.It’s no longer a growth engine. It’s a backbone.> “But of course, you want to protect the backbone — you want to make sure> it’s in good shape.”Moran said the energy industry is “undeniably important” for the city,province and country, likening government intervention to buttress theindustry to a “defense strategy.”“But in order for us to create new jobs and fill that office space, we alsoneed an offense strategy,” Moran said.Story continues below advertisementMoran said tech could help take up some of the downtown vacancy that CBREpegged at 28.7 per cent on Sept. 30.“You can tell by the number of co-shared spaces that have emerged. The bigprojects like the Addison [House], Palliser [One], the Sunlife Building, theScotia Centre, the old IBM campus — many [building owners] are adjusting,”Moran said. “And I think that there’s going to be great opportunities for newtypes of companies to come into the downtown core.”2:05 Calgary tech companies join forces to attract more job seekersPrevious Video Next VideoHirsch said a look back at the city’s history can help find direction for thefuture.“This city was built by people that defied the odds and I think that is goingto continue. That’s why I’m so hopeful about Calgary and its ability to adapt”© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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