2020 has come and gone, but the echoes and ripples of that year still linger. Everyday, we hear about rising cases of Covid 19 in most of Canada’s provinces and cities. A new variant of the virus first identified in the United Kingdom is spreading fast, one that is more transmissible though not more virulent.
As we happily leave 2020 behind, we must still face the challenges of 2021 and beyond. Finding a way to live as normal a life as possible while the world continues to reel from Covid 19 will not be an easy task. Alberta’s economy will remain sluggish, and the recovery that we all hope for may not be forthcoming this year.
Banks point out that Alberta’s economy was the hardest hit among the provinces. Even before the pandemic, Alberta was already struggling as a result of the global oil crunch. And as the world’s economies try to recover from the effects of the pandemic, oil prices are seen to remain below $50 per barrel.
This presents a bleak short-term outlook for Alberta. There won’t be any expansion of capacity, and the province’s oil and gas industry is expected to be cautious, at best, in terms of capital spending.
Unemployment is projected to be between 9.5 and 11 percent, banks said. This means a scarcity of jobs, at least until economic activity starts to pick up. That would likely start by the third or fourth quarter of this year, when the vaccination rollout would be on high gear and main population gets inoculated.
Premier Jason Kenney boasted of the largest job training program in the province’s history in anticipation of the economic rebound. He said the training program aims to help Albertans who have been “dislocated” from the oil and gas industry.
For Filipinos, it will be a question on resilience. How well we can manage our expectations and stay focused on living through a pandemic will be key to getting back to our (new) normal lives. The sad reality is that there will be fewer jobs than there were before the pandemic and after the oil crunch.
But then, Filipinos have always been known for their resilience. Remember that proverbial comparison to the bamboo tree? As Alberta struggles through its economic woes, we must channel our “inner bamboo tree,” if only to remind ourselves that we have always survived through thick and thin with our sanity, if not our sense of humour, intact.
We’ve always made do with what we have—it’s in our DNA. Not a few of us have, by this time, found a side gig or two to make ends meet. We’ve probably cut down on our monthly padala by $20 or $30, but will still definitely find a way to send money back home. What’s important is to remain focused on staying ahead of the pandemic by following all the healthy safety protocols.
Happy New Year might still have a different ring to it, but trust the Filipino to find a way to make it so.