February 24, 2020: Court Ellingson, City of Calgary’s Economic Development Department Calgary Economic Development
Gordon Cox introduced our guest speaker, Court Ellingson, from the City of Calgary’s Economic Development Department. Court used a PowerPoint presentation to show us how the city is not doing as badly as many perceive. His arguments, well-supported by statistics, were compelling.
To begin, he let us know the economy of Calgary is less dependent on oil and gas than most believe. The oil patch accounts for less than 30% of our GDP. Although there have been large job losses due to the drop in the price of oil, there are more people working in Calgary than there were in 2014, and our GDP/Capita is higher today than in most other Canadian cities.
Although there has been a lot of movement between provinces in the past few years in the pursuit of job opportunities, as people departed Calgary there was a counter-movement, and also people who left have been returning. Calgary’s last net loss in population was in 1982. The city keeps track!
Intentional diversification has been a priority for decades, and the development of artificial intelligence has emerged as the primary shift, with the most conspicuous being the replacement of low-end jobs such as bank tellers and cashiers.
The largest development in industry has been agribusiness, with several crop sciences head offices locating here. Manufacturing has grown at the rate of 24%. Calgary has the most new venture start-up companies in Canada.
We are seeing a change in worker demand, with a shift coming for more emphasis on life-long learning.
Darren Grierson thanked Court, and presented him with our world-travelled Boltman, manufactured for us by Motive Action.
reported by Don Campbell
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