You are entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts: Calgary redux

I got a few sharp comments on the Calgary post from a few days ago (comments on LinkedIn and direct messages). The gist is that Calgary is in deep economic trouble and I am cherry picking my facts.

Let me restate. Alberta is in a challenging time. There are two main facets: 1) a government fiscal crisis due to the price of oil and resulting less royalties (and other knock on effects) and 2) an investment crisis because that sector is the main driver of investment in the province. These are impacting Calgary and a main reason for some of the issues such as the office space vacancy rate.

But, one person suggested there was a vast outmigration of people from Calgary.

Not true.

In 2017, Calgary had the 4th highest immigration rate among the 33 CMAs across Canada at 144 immigrants per 10,000 population. It had the second highest five year population growth rate between 2012 and 2017 at 14.1%. In fact, you could easily argue the reason why Calgary’s unemployment rate remains quite high is because it has been attracting a lot of folks. Not as many as when its economy was firing on all cylinders but, again, compared to other urban centres in Canada, it is doing quite well.

My main point is that I don’t see the value in making the economic situation in Calgary seem worse than it is. I understand why politicians talk in these terms – that is how they get elected -but for pundits, economists, journalists, etc., they should be focusing on facts and the facts are that Calgary has a higher than desireable unemployment rate and is feeling the effects of the low price of oil on public services, spending and investment. But it remains a growing economy with significant inflow of population and growth in the labour market and in total employment.

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