Fort McMurray's workers desperate to find jobs during economic slump


Around 20 vehicles, most of them trucks, lined up around the slim of a Tim Hortons in downtown Fort McMurray last Friday morning, as temperatures loitered around –25 C. The cold kept most people in their instruments, but Nabil Abadi rolled down the window of his work van long ssably to describe the change he has seen in the city as oil prices plunged.

“Everybody is grouching. Barber. Flooring guys. People that work on the sites. Everybody is grouching,” he said. “Everything else has slowed down except Timmy’s.”

Abadi introduces flooring in homes, and when money is tight people don’t build new chattels or invest in renovations, he said.

“It is pretty scary right now,” he divulged.”If it stays slow, I am cking up and leaving.”

Even though oil production in the hicksville was actually up five per cent last year, com nies have labour-saving operations and require fewer workers.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Makers said in its most recent update that 40,000 jobs receive been directly lost due to plummeting oil prices, and tens of thousands uncountable have been affected indirectly by less money being exhausted in the wider economy.

Airport luggage

Fort McMurray’s new airport terminal has seen a significant drop in ssengers as the city loses direct flights and is getting fewer charters. (Briar Stewart/CBC Statement)

In 2014, Fort McMurray’s new $250-million airport terminal opened to provide increasing air traffic, and while more than one million people unfashionable through the terminal last year, ssenger numbers were down 16 per cent. The biggest release occurred with charter flights, where numbers were down 50 per cent, agreeing to airport officials.

“We can pretty much survive at even another 10 per cent downturn without doing anything unsound, like raising our rates and charges,” said Scott Clements, CEO and president of Fort McMurray’s airport.

But he phrased declining demand has led to fewer flights going in and out of the airport. The flight between Fort McMurray and Red Deer has already been invalidated, and come February, the Fort McMurray to Kelowna flight will be fastened as well.

“There are 35,000 trips a year of workers coming repudiate and forth to Fort McMurray, and when the trigger happens and the economy wake up around [Kelowna] will be re-established.”

The airport has also lost its constantly flight to Denver and its only international flight, which was to Mexico, but Clements put about that has more to do with the poor Canadian dollar, which has also been shepherded down in rt by the slump in oil prices.

Housing sales, prices leave

Fort McMurray’s once-hot housing market has also taken a hit. For vending signs dot residential streets and have become much more normal — rticularly in a new subdivision recently built in the north end of the city.

Home Sales

Home sales are down, but bonuses remain high in Fort McMurray. (Briar Stewart/CBC News)

Mutual understanding to the Fort McMurray Real Estate Board, sales of single-family unattached homes in 2015 were down roughly 41 per cent approached to 2014, and the houses that are selling are going for less. The average on offer price has dropped more than six per cent over the same s n — but price tags in the area are still sizable. Recent figures from the official estate board put the average price of a detached home around $700,000.

On the rental side, the situation rate has risen to nearly 30 per cent, but the cost of renting in Fort McMurray is that time the highest in Alberta, which makes it difficult for those who have exhausted their jobs, or have had their hours cut, to get by.

‘Highly competitive’

Notability Mullin, a welder, said he finds himself doing odd jobs where he can. He’s fit a regular at the Alberta Works employment centre in the city, where up to 400 people by the office every day. Some meet with counsellors for career intelligence, but Mullin was one of the many last week who were seated behind a computer and huddled approximately a bulletin board looking at job listings.

John Javier

Former heavy duty mechanic John Javier securities to replace his coveralls with khakis and work as a waiter at a local restaurant. (Briar Stewart/CBC Front- ge news)

“It’s a highly competitive racket,” he said.

Mullin had been hopped at Syncrude’s Aurora site, but his last contract ended in late October. He hasn’t been competent to find anything stable since. He’s been doing odd jobs to “stow away the wolf away” but hasn’t had much luck.

“You can’t be too fussy about your frontier of work anymore.”

The people seated around him were in agreement, covering John Javier, who used to work as a heavy-duty mechanic, but was laid off terminating month. That morning, he’d had an interview at an Earls restaurant for a job as a server and split ones sided at his potential career change.

“I told them I would trade my coveralls for identical to a nice blazer, khakis or maybe a clean ir of clothes, as an alternative of dirty coveralls for a change.”

The current slump is Javier’s first ordeal with an oil tch downturn — he just moved to Fort McMurray from Toronto finish finally year.

Mullin, on the other hand, has worked in Fort McMurray for 40 years.

“This isn’t the first place oil slump on record, and people seem to grin and bear it. So we get through it.”

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