Wednesday, 02 March 2016 16:22

Now is the time for positive, open minds to shine

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With the ides of March approaching in less than a few weeks, some feel the ultimate in bad luck and misfortune have already hit the prairies.

Unemployment levels are scary.
The Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey says Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate is 6.1 per cent for January, up a full percentage mark from December 2016. The report states “36,600 persons unemployed in Saskatchewan during January 2016. This is an increase of 6,000 from December 2015 and 8,000 more than the number unemployed in January 2015.”
Alberta is worse with all of the oil patch layoffs.
In January 2016, according to the Alberta Government, Alberta’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.4 per cent, up from the 4.6 per cent rate in 2015 and up slightly from last month’s rate of seven per cent. In southern Alberta, that unemployment rate sits at 8.1 per cent according to Government of Canada numbers.
Then a report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)indicates small business owners on the prairies aren’t too optimistic either. Small business owners in Saskatchewan have an index level of 52.4 per cent which is below “a level associated with a healthy economy.”
Alberta? 26.7 per cent. Worst. In. Country.
According the Alberta chapter of the CFIB, small business confidence dropped 2.1 points in February to 26.7. This is the fifth time in six months the index has registered a historic low. Confidence now sits 10 points below the lowest point of the 2008 recession.
That’s a lot of numbers. That’s a lot of doom and gloom. Combine the layoffs in the resource sector, the poor global economy, changes in both federal government and Alberta provincial governments in 2015 and the result is a lot of uncertainty and angst about the upcoming Saskatchewan provincial election.
However,  the situation is all in the eye of the beholder. It’s a matter of perspective.
What looks like a wasteland to one, could mean a perfect opportunity to get something started for another.
It’s undoubtedly a time of major change in the natural resources, media and communications, retail and government sectors. One thing which remains constant is there is still the opportunity to make it in the business sector. The economy may not be the greatest, but that doesn’t mean new ideas cannot be explored. While it’s cliché to say “where one door closes, another opens,” it’s true. In fact, there are new businesses popping up in southeast Alberta where unemployment is the highest it has been in years. Over the next few weeks, Prairie Post will be looking at how entrepreneurs are trying to get going in southeast Alberta.
In talking to some of these experts, one noted owning and operating a small business isn’t for everybody and that just having a good idea doesn’t necessarily mean instant Loblaw company-level success overnight.
However, in looking at some of these groups who can either help those budding entrepreneurs reach the next level or see those whose diligence is paying off, it does prove one thing — there is always hope.
The hope that if you see a niché which could be filled or there could be some future employment directly or indirectly created by some of these new businesses, keep your mind open, your eyes peeled for new opportunities and above all, an attitude which remains positive, no matter what the cold, hard statistics say because sometimes, hope is all you have.
Ryan Dahlman is managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact him with your comments about this opinion piece at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor