Jobs in Calgary: 2024 Calgary Economy & Industries Guide

Calgary Economy Guide

Much of the appeal of moving to Calgary is due to the high quality of life and extraordinary natural surroundings, but the city’s economy is a draw in and of itself. Investors, professionals, and current and future residents can benefit from a comprehensive analysis of the Calgary economy, focusing on its positions in key industries, infrastructure projects, and technology sectors, providing a clear understanding of what to anticipate.

Key Takeaways

  • Calgary’s economy is experiencing growth with significant contributions from key sectors like aviation, carbon capture, and food manufacturing, alongside a thriving startup ecosystem valued at $5.2 billion, fueled by strong commodity prices, record population growth, and consumer spending.
  • The city is proactively overcoming global economic challenges by diversifying industries. This is exemplified by a $7.5 billion digital transformation and over $1 billion in infrastructure and transportation investment to reinforce economic resilience and growth.
  • Calgary’s commitment to innovation is displayed by its collaborative efforts involving community partners, the presence of more than 760 private tech companies, university R&D collaborations, and support for leading innovators, contributing to its growing reputation as one of the most livable cities in the world.

Calgary's Economic Landscape in 2024

Anchored in Alberta’s rich economic landscape, the Calgary economic region is projected to continue its robust growth. Strong commodity prices, record population growth, new construction homes in Calgary, and consumer spending have fueled this economic development, reflecting the city’s resilience and potential for advancement. Key sectors such as aviation, carbon capture and utilization, and food manufacturing significantly contribute to Calgary’s economic development.

The thriving startup ecosystem in Calgary, with a valuation of $5.2 billion, reflects the city’s dynamic and innovative business environment. This ecosystem is characterized by its innovative, entrepreneurial, and inclusive nature, attracting diverse industry investments and fostering a business climate ripe with optimism.

Population Growth

Calgary’s population is experiencing rapid growth, demonstrating the city’s economic resilience and capacity for growth. This surge in population prompts higher consumer spending and an enlarged workforce, both of which are key contributors to the city’s vigorous economy.

Calgary Economic Development meticulously monitors the city’s economic strategy using both qualitative and quantitative indicators provided by sources such as the Economist Intelligence Unit. Metrics such as the participation of newcomers in the economy, education attainment, and quality of life perceptions portray Calgary’s dedication to fostering a vibrant and inclusive economy.

Alberta's Economy and Calgary's Role

The city’s economic strategy tightly aligns with Calgary’s crucial strategies and priorities, exemplifying a holistic approach toward stimulating citywide economic development. This integrated strategy, involving various community members, business leaders, civic partners, and multiple levels of government, works towards reinforcing Calgary’s significant role in Alberta’s economy.

This collaborative initiative and Calgary’s solid economic performance underscores the city’s major role in Alberta’s economy. The city’s significant contribution to Alberta’s projected GDP growth of 2.7% in 2023 and an expected 2.0% in 2024 is a testament to this.

Overcoming Global Economic Headwinds

How Calgary Handles Global Economy Challenges

Amidst global economic challenges, Calgary has embraced a proactive stance, crafting economic resilience through the cultivation of strong collaborative relationships among its community partners. With streamlined business policies and strategic investments in initiatives such as the Innovation District and trade accelerators, Calgary is creating a more connected city capable of overcoming global challenges.

Diversification of Industries

The diversification efforts, especially within the energy sector, have significantly contributed to reinforcing Calgary’s economic resilience. This diversification can also help prospective residents deciding between Calgary and Edmonton, as the former is further along in the process. A significant digital transformation, representing $7.5 billion in spending by Calgary businesses, is underway and is anticipated to drive growth across diverse industries.

The Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund is fuelling these diversification efforts with a $100 million initiative. This initiative has stimulated a total investment of $800 million, creating more than 3,000 jobs, and supporting over 500 local companies.

Infrastructure and Transportation Investments

The Calgary Municipal Land Corporation is spearheading over $1 billion in developments, reshaping Calgary’s infrastructure for future economic growth. Major projects like the Victoria Park/Stampede Station rebuild and the Sixth Street S.E. underpass—both on the eastern edge of Calgary’s City Centre—are intimately tied to the city’s connectivity and its ability to support substantial mixed-use development.

The YYC Calgary International Airport, located in Northeast Calgary and functioning as an essential hub for transportation and cargo, mirrors Calgary’s leadership position in the transportation and logistics sector. With nearly 5,000 related businesses, the city is well-placed to leverage this strength for future growth.

Calgary's Innovation Ecosystem

The startup ecosystem in Calgary is thriving, as evidenced by the following:

  • $647 million in venture capital funding across 64 deals in 2022
  • The substantial presence of more than 760 private tech companies
  • The city’s global recognition as a nurturing ground for startups, ranking among the top 60 emerging ecosystems.

Innovation in Calgary is propelled by:

  • Transformational initiatives like the Calgary Innovation District
  • Strategic investments through the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF)
  • Enhanced innovation infrastructure, including the Entertainment Arts Production Hub funded by OCIF
  • Living labs

These initiatives and support programs are driving Calgary’s vision of economic transformation through technological progress.

University Collaborations and Research

Business and community leaders in Calgary push for innovation by emphasizing the removal of barriers between sectors. This integration across industries is a driving strategy supported by key stakeholders to bring diverse strengths together in Calgary, fostering the development of big ideas.

Collaborations between universities and businesses in research and development are a result of this strategy. The University of Calgary, located in Calgary’s Northwest area, is at the forefront of these efforts. These collaborations aim to solve complex problems, propelling Calgary’s economy forward and positioning the city at the forefront of addressing global challenges through innovation.

Business Advantages in Calgary

How Calgary Helps Businesses Succeed

Calgary’s economy benefits from the following factors:

  • Alberta offers the lowest corporate income tax rate in Canada at 8%, positioning Calgary favourably for businesses.
  • Calgary has over 100 corporate head offices, the most per capita in Canada.
  • Calgary attracts significant investments from companies like Morgan Stanley, AMD, Cisco, and Infosys.

The ‘Calgary in the New Economy’ strategy aims to reinforce key drivers such as talent, innovation, livability, and a supportive business environment. The affordable median price for single-family detached homes in Calgary along with the healthy salaries contributes to the high quality of life for those living in the city.

Future Outlook for Calgary's Economy

Even with a projected slowdown, the economy of Alberta, which includes Calgary, is expected to be one of the most robust in Canada come 2024. Alberta’s economy has shown resilience to inflation and is expected to maintain a lead with strong population growth and a revitalized energy sector.

Optimism remains for Calgary’s business operators in 2024 despite challenges from higher interest rates and potential national economic complications. Calgary’s startup ecosystem is poised for significant expansion, with an expectation of 1,000 new tech companies by 2030.

Municipal Government Initiatives

The ‘Calgary in the New Economy’ strategy developed by Calgary Economic Development paves the way for the city to achieve enduring prosperity. This is achieved by prioritizing economic diversification and the construction of an all-inclusive, accessible economy. In pursuit of the strategy’s goals, Calgary successfully attracted, expanded, or retained 61 companies in 2022, bolstering economic diversification and innovation.

Collaborative initiatives like the Pathways Alliance are seeking to create a net-zero economy, with projections suggesting a $61 billion boost by 2050, demonstrating Calgary’s integral role in Alberta’s broader economic strategy. The municipal government’s efforts include support for key sectors like energy, agriculture, and natural resources, strengthening Calgary’s economic resilience against national economic challenges.

Economic Optimism in Calgary

Calgary’s economy in 2024 is a dynamic blend of growth, resilience, and innovation. The optimism surrounding the city’s economy can be seen and felt throughout Calgary’s best neighbourhoods. With a projected GDP growth of 3.7%, Calgary is thriving amidst global economic headwinds, thanks to a record-shattering population growth, a diversified economy, and a robust startup ecosystem.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Calgary so important?

Calgary is important due to its role as the financial center of Western Canada and its significant contribution to the development of the region's oil and gas industry. Its iconic backdrop, history in cattle ranching, and association with oil exploration make it one of Canada's most recognizable cities.

What industry is Calgary known for?

Calgary is known for being an energy city and is recognized as a leader in the global energy transition, with Alberta being Canada's largest oil and natural gas producer. It also has significant wind, solar, bioenergy, and geothermal resources.

Does Alberta have a strong economy?

Yes, Alberta has a strong economy, with the highest GDP per capita among Canadian provinces in 2022, driven by natural resource wealth and high output in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sectors.

What does Calgary Economic Development do?

Calgary Economic Development promotes Calgary as the location of choice for people, investment, and business, aiming to position the city for long-term economic success and shared prosperity for all.

Are you ready to move to Calgary? Call Justin Havre with eXp Realty at (403) 217-0003 to talk with a local real estate agent who can help you find your dream Calgary home.

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