05/20/2015 12:26 EDT | Updated 05/21/2016 05:59 EDT

Oilpatch Could Lose 185,000 Jobs, Says Report

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A new report says the Canadian economy could lose as many as 185,000 direct and indirect jobs related to the oil and gas industry in 2015, with most of the job losses being in Alberta.

"If oil prices continue to remain low, we anticipate additional reductions to spending and jobs before things start to turn around," said Carol Howes, the director of the Petroleum Labour Market Information (PetroLMI) division of Enform in a news release.  

Enform tracks labour market trends in the Canadian petroleum industry. 

Enform predicts the biggest impact would be on oil and gas engineering construction firms, which do most of the work on development projects, accounting for up to 75,000 jobs.

Support services, such as drilling companies which are also involved in exploration, would represent another 26,000 jobs.

Enform is also predicting:

- $31-billion reduction in capital and operational expenditures in 2015.

- $28-billion reduction in exploration and development in 2015.

- 20,000 jobs lost in B.C., 14,000 in Ontario in 2015.

The outlook for 2016 is less certain, says Howes. 

"What is clear is that the behaviour of oil and gas companies will be an important factor in determining actual job losses in 2015," she said.

"Managing labour costs in a time of declining oil prices through creative workforce retention strategies will become more critical in the months ahead."


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