Medicine Hat is seeing oil companies building up their workforce in early January after economists forecasted a small rebound in oil for 2017.
Iron Horse Energy Services has hired 125 new employees since May 2016 and continues their hunt to fill new openings for electrical technicians, heavy duty mechanics, accountants, administrators and coiled tubing supervisors and operators. New employees are rapidly filling their new building, which is located on the Gas City’s doorstep, as the company continues to expand.
Step Energy and Canyon Technical Services are casting a net to the Medicine Hat workforce as they make their rebound. Both companies recently held job fairs in the city to fill vacancies such as frac operators and supervisors, field maintenance and electronic technicians. Canyon Technical Services is holding a second hiring fair on Friday.
The hiring fairs could be a sign that the worst impacts of the recession may be behind Medicine Hat as ATB Financial forecasts steady increases in the petroleum sector. They predict that oil prices will make a 2.1 per cent rebound this year as West Texas Intermediate could creep up to the US$50-55 range but they say it will take time to return to the $70 range.
Natural gas prices are also forecasted to make a gradual recovery in 2017. ATB expects prices to push to $3.20 /MMBtu.
With new job opportunities and oil prices beginning to increase, TD Economics is forecasting Alberta to lead the provinces with Saskatchewan as commodity prices recover. The Gas City is already experiencing some effects of recovering oil prices as regional and local companies look to replenish, as well as expand, their workforces.
Medicine Hat’s real estate market offers a discount over other Alberta jurisdictions, making it an attractive location for oil and gas companies. The local workforce consists of workers who are educated in engineering and technology, administration and trades. In addition, many people have field experience working in the oil and gas sector. Residents enjoy some of the most affordable home prices in Canada, with Medicine Hat ranked as the most affordable city in Alberta.
The low costs combined with an experienced workforce means that employers can be sure they will find the right people as the economy continues its rebound in 2017.