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Over 700 new jobs were generated in Regina over 2014, with mines and utilities experiencing the biggest growth. However, experts don’t see a bright future for employment in the city as hiring grew by 0.4 per cent throughout the year, down from 5.9 per cent in 2013.


Doug Elliott, owner of QED Information Systems and publisher of Sask Trends Monitor, expects a decline in the city for 2015 as a result of government restraints. “We may see a decline in the Crown corporations and other parts of public administration, like healthcare and education,” he said.


The decrease in employment is already present in Saskatchewan.In December, the provincial government announced a hiring freeze that forced government ministries and corporations like SaskPower to hire only in positions that they consider critical to their basic operations.


The freeze in jobs in the province has brought fears in some students. Jeeshan Ahmed, soon to graduate from environmental engineering at the University of Regina, said recent graduates have lost their jobs as a result of the situation their companies were going through.


However, he believes there are good opportunities and is optimistic about his own future. “I still think I can make a good contribution to society with my degree. I just have to find the right avenues,” he said.


While utilities and mining related activity rose greatly in the city, other sectors like agriculture or accommodation and food services experienced significant decreases. Combined, these sectors lost over 2,700 jobs. Moreover, the 0.4 per cent growth in jobs in 2014 was considerably lower than previous years. On average, employment rose by 3.3 per cent from 2009 to 2013.


However, Elliott believes both the city and the province are rich in jobs for people with university degrees. “Anybody with a university degree has a pretty good chance of finding a job,” he said. As well, employment in Saskatoon and Calgary grew by 3.0per cent and 2.6per cent last year, respectively.


The career fair hosted at the University of Regina on Monday, Feb. 2, left bittersweet impressions on the students. For Ahmed, it was a chance to see that there are opportunities in the field he is interested once he graduates.


For others, the career fair showed the lack of opportunities in their field of interest. Precious Onungwe, student of petroleum engineering and business, noticed a low number of oil companies at the career fair. The provincial hiring freeze also alarms him. However, he believes that he can find a job not related to the oil sector. “I think most companies are looking at how and individual can learn and adapt, and I think I am versatile,” he said.


Students in other sectors don’t see the situation as bad. Accounting student Mohamed Hassan said it would be easier for him to find a job in Regina because of his connections in the city. “I had to eight-month work terms at SaskPower and MNP, so I think it would be easier for me to get hired here,” he said.


The construction industry is another aspect that grew considerably over 2014. Over the year, the City of Regina carried out over 37 projects, such as the replacement of water connections on Broad Street and Winnipeg Street and the replacement of asphalt of Ross Avenue.


However, the construction sector has found competition in other provinces. Some workers have left Saskatchewan because of better job opportunities. José Cardozo, member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, moved to Alberta in 2014 because of better job opportunities. “I was in Regina for the expansion of the refinery and stayed there until it was over,” said Cardozo in Spanish. He said that he has found better job opportunities in his new home.