End is at hand for downturn: Expert - Metro US

End is at hand for downturn: Expert

The end is near.

Well, according to members of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, it is.

Hype over the economic meltdown has inspired unnecessary panic, as recessions are part of the ebb and flow of a healthy economy, chamber president Martin Salloum said, adding that speculation among members indicates the downturn will reach cessation within 18 months.

“Edmonton’s economy is diverse enough to weather the storm,” he told Metro, adding that proof of the Alberta advantage is omnipresent.

The biggest misconception, Salloum said, is that oil is Edmonton’s economic lifeblood.

“We’re not just a one-trick pony,” he said. “We’re much more diverse than people think.”

A $7.2-billion injection by the provincial government into burgeoning infrastructure adds to a multitude of private impending initiatives in Edmonton. Cranes streak the U of A skyline and there are rumours of massive downtown developments which would breathe new life into the job market, he said.

A necessary nosedive may have hit the real-estate market hard, Salloum said, but has paved the way for more affordable housing, ensuring immigrant and homegrown workers keep roofs over their heads in this period of layoff paranoia.

Layoff myths can be busted, too, Salloum said. Nearly 75 per cent of chamber members polled don’t expect to lay off employees before the recession ends.

“The former struggle was finding staff. Now, employers don’t want to have to scramble to find people when they need them,” he said.

The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce is working hand-in-hand with officials to forge strong relationships with northern neighbours, solidifying Edmonton’s “gateway to the north” namesake.

Northern Canada is the “economic engine” of the country, Salloum said, teeming with resources.

“Edmonton is the urban centre of the north, and that’s the role that we’re here to play.”

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