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March 3, 2010
‘Outright Optimism’ in Oil Patch Now— Senior Economist
“2010 will be a better year than 2009,” an economist said during a presentation in Provost on Wednesday, February 24. “Everyone’s happy to see 2009 gone.”

Todd Hirsch, senior economist for ATB Financial, gave a presentation to the Provost and District Chamber of Commerce at the Recreation and Culture Centre where he highlighted the remaining risks of the global economy.

“We did not see the Great Depression part 2,” Hirsch said before a couple dozen local merchants, and pointed out why the global economy, particularly the United States, is not out of the woods just yet.

Hirsch has his eye on: China as it’s the main engine of growth and missteps by that country could be devastating; protectionist trade barriers throughout the world that hinder economies; economic stimulus packages; government debt (Greece, Portugal, Japan, and U.S. in particular); and lack of consumption in the U.S.

In Alberta, Hirsch is not too worried.

“Our job market deteriorated the most of any province. But oil prices have rebounded nicely and they’re likely to gravitate higher” the 43 year old said. “Producers would prefer stability such as this” as opposed to uncertainty when the royalty rates were being tinkered with multiple times.

When asked if he sees “cautious optimism” in the oil industry right now, Hirsch sees “outright optimism.”

He expects oil to hover between the $75 to $85 range come summertime, but is not optimistic with natural gas prices as “they’re likely to fall back which will result in a tough market for gas producers in this province. They’re up to their eyeballs in storage supply.”

Unemployment was about 12 per cent when Hirsch graduated high school two and a half decades ago. He is not overly concerned about the unemployment rate, and notes that when people leave our province they effectively lower our unemployment rate — so having a negative migration value is not necessarily a bad thing at this time.

When asked who Alberta’s biggest competitor was, Hirsch says “Saskatchewan” without hesitation.

“They have potential. Their resource base is more diverse than Alberta’s.”

Complete story and photos in March 3 edition of The Provost News.
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H1N1 Inoculation Still Being Encouraged
Even though it’s difficult to say if a third wave of H1N1 is coming this winter or spring the disease is still in the community, says physician Deena Hinshaw who has an office with Alberta Health Services in Camrose.

Although it’s “difficult to say” if a third wave is imminent, because the timing is difficult to predict the doctor says she still encourages high risk groups to get inoculated.

Complete story in March 3 edition of The Provost News.
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Safety, Engaging Community Members is Focus for New Town Peace Officer
Photos in March 3 edition of The Provost News.
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Street Spokesman
This week we ask: "What Was Most Memorable About the Olympic Games?"
. . . and we heard answers from Lucie Trutnau, Pak Wong, Mavis Hagen and Darin Hauck. Check out the March 3 edition of The Provost News for their answers.
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This, along with many other stories and pictures can be found in this week's edition of The Provost News.
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