US workers head to Canada

It probably comes as no surprise to most people that many citizens of the United States are struggling to find work. Americans have spent the past few years trying to cope with the effects of the recession that seems to plague the economy. In 2008, 2.6 million workers were laid off, leaving the unemployment rate at 7.2%, as the country entered a recession. Over the course of the past few years, not much improvement has taken place. Unemployment continued to rise until recently when it began to make slight improvements, leaving the current national unemployment at 7.7%.

Although the economic environment in the United States does not seem very welcoming to many workers, another option is opening up and causing many US workers to move north to Canada in order to pursue work. Canada is beginning to have a booming energy industry and is asking for tens of thousands of new workers to be hired in order to keep up with the demand.

Sitting behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, Canada has the third largest oil and gas reserves in the world and is seeking to drastically expand its oil production, doubling it over the course of the next decade.

While there is an abundance of oil waiting to be tapped, the Canadian workforce lacks the large number of skilled workers required to make this happen. As a result, the Canadian energy industry is seeking to capitalize off of the fact that American workers have seen very little improvement in their employment outlook.

The western province of Alberta seems to be one of the most popular locations for US workers to find jobs. Ken Hughes, Alberta’s minister of energy highlighted the similarities in culture and society between the United States and Canada in an effort to describe the easy transition that workers face when moving from the United States to Canada.

The current state of the US economy simply doesn’t seem to be supportive of skilled workers. Mike Riordan, an Ironworker, left the state of Minnesota to pursue work in Edmonton, which is the capitol city of Alberta. Edmonton happens to be the staging ground for many of the big oil companies in Canada. In an interview with Fox News, Riordan compared the slow work he received in the United States with the seemingly endless opportunities he found in Canada. He said that now that he moved to Canada he makes more than twice what he made back home in the United States.

Situations like this speak volumes of the current state of the US economy. While the United States has a severe shortage of hobs, Canada lives in contrast having more jobs than they have workers to fill them. Additionally, an unnerving statement is highlighted on Alberta’s recruitment website that the average household income in the province of Alberta is 24 percent higher than that of the state of Washington.

In addition, the province of British Columbia is projected to be short some 40,000 workers. In order to fill these jobs, Abigail Fulton, the vice president of the British Columbia Construction Association has made appearances at job fairs in the United States hosted by her organization. Fulton plans to host many more of these informational job fairs throughout the United States in an effort to extract many more skilled workers from the US and use them to fill the job deficit that the Canadian energy industry faces.

While this is opportunity may be great for many skilled workers struggling to find jobs here in the United States, it does nothing for those seeking entry level work in this industry. Furthermore, it stands as more evidence that action needs to be taken in order to improve the state of the US economy. Until such action is taken, more and more workers will seek job elsewhere because of an inability to find work here in the United States.