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Calgary Economy

Calgary is recognized as a Canadian leader in the oil and gas industry as well as for being a leader in economic expansion. Its high personal income,  low unemployment and high GDP per capita have all benefited from increased sales and prices due to a resource boom, and increasing economic diversification. Because of these strengths, Calgary is designated as a global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Also, Calgary was one of the top 200 cities worldwide, by the Brookings Institution, that had a top performing local economy for 2011. The city was ranked first nationally, and 51st in the world, in that aspect.Additionally, Calgary was voted third in quality of life among North American cities by the 2011-2012 issue of American Cities of the Future. 

Calgary benefits from a relatively strong job market in Alberta, is part of the Calgary–Edmonton Corridor, one of the fastest growing regions in the country. It is the head office for many major oil and gas related companies, and many financial service business have grown up around them. Small business and self-employment levels also rank amongst the highest in Canada. It is also a major distribution and transportation hub with high retail sales. 

Calgary's economy is decreasingly dominated by the oil and gas industry, although it is still the single largest contributor to the city's GDP. In 2006, Calgary's real GDP (in constant 1997 dollars) was C$52.386 billion, of which oil, gas and mining contributed 12%).  The larger oil and gas companies are BP Canada, Canadian Natural Resources Limited, Cenovus Energy, Encana, Imperial Oil, Suncor Energy, Shell Canada, TransCanada, and Nexen, making the city home to 87% of Canada's oil and natural gas producers and 66% of coal producers. 

Labour force (2006) 
Rate Calgary Alberta Canada
Employment 72.3% 70.9% 62.4%
Unemployment 4.1% 4.3% 6.6%
Participation 75.4% 70.9% 66.8%

As of 2010, the city had a labour force of 618,000 (a 74.6% participation rate) and 7.0% unemployment rate. In 2006, the unemployment rate was amongst the lowest of the major cities in Canada at 3.2%, causing a shortage of both skilled and unskilled workers.
  
 
 

Employment by industry 
Industry Calgary Alberta
Agriculture 6.1% 10.9%
Manufacturing 15.8% 15.8%
Trade 15.9% 15.8%
Finance 6.4% 5.0%
Health and education 25.1% 18.8%
Business services 25.1% 18.8%
Other services 16.5% 18.7%

In 2010 the "Professional, Technical and Management" Industry accounted for over 14% of employment and the areas of "Architectural, Engineering and Design Services" and "Management, Scientific and Technical Services" employment levels far exceed Canadian levels. Though Trade employs 14.7% of the work force, its percentage of total employment is not higher than the Canadian average. Levels of employment in Construction are both fairly high, exceed Canadian averages, and have grown 16% between 2006 and 2010. Health and Welfare services, which account for 10% of employment, have grown 20% in that period. 

 

 

Calgary Economic Development "Top Calgary Employers" (2006) lists top employers as such:  large industrial employers include Nova Chemicals leading this category with 4,900 employees while others with more than 2,000 employees include Nexen, Canadian Pacific Railway, CNRL, Shell Canada and Dow Chemical Canada. Other private sector employers include Shaw Communications (7,500 employees), along with Telus, Mark's Work Wearhouse, and Calgary Co-op. In the public sector, the largest employer is the Calgary Zone of the Alberta Health Services (22,000). The City of Calgary (15,000), the Calgary Board of Education and the University of Calgary are also large employers. 

Calgary is increasingly becoming home to Canadian corporate head offices. It has the second highest concentration of head offices in Canada, behind only Toronto, and has the highest head office employment per capita in the country. Some large employers with Calgary head offices include Canada Safeway Limited, Westfair Foods Ltd., Suncor Energy, Agrium, Flint Energy Services Ltd., Shaw Communication, and Canadian Pacific Railway. CPR moved its head office from Montreal in 1996 and Imperial Oil moved from Toronto in 2005. EnCana's new 58-floor corporate headquarters, the Bow, became the tallest building in Canada outside of Toronto. In 2001, the city became the corporate headquarters of the TSX Venture Exchange.

WestJet is headquartered close to the Calgary International Airport, and Enerjet has its headquarters on the airport grounds. Prior to their dissolution, Canadian Airlines and Air Canada's subsidiary Zip were also headquartered near the city's airport. Although the main office is now based in Yellowknife, Canadian North, purchased from Canadian Airlines in September 1998, still maintain the operations and charter offices in Calgary. 

 Information and images courtesy of wikipedia.org


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