The ups (population) and downs (unemployment) of life in Calgary were documented in a pair of reports this month from the federal government.

Census 2016 from Statistics Canada confirmed the long-term population growth in Calgary. As a result of sustained increases for more than a decade, in 2016 Calgary (1,392,609) became Canada’s fourth largest Census Metropolitan Area, moving ahead of Ottawa–Gatineau (1,323,783).

 “More than a number it’s the qualities of the people– friendly, healthy, global, hard-working, innovative – who make Calgary home that make this city great,” said Court Ellingson, Vice-President of Research & Strategy at Calgary Economic Development.    

The census confirmed the demographic switch to Western Canada as the six fastest growing cities in the last five years were in the West. Calgary’s population grew by at 14.6 per cent growth from 2011-2016, after leading the country in growth at 12.6 per cent in the previous five-year period.


The long-term growth in population coupled with economic downturn contributed to Calgary's unemployment rate going from the lowest to the highest of any major city in Canada.

As the economy shows signs of recovery, the unemployment rate for the Calgary decreased from 10.1% in December 2016 to 9.8% in January 2017 as 2,300 new jobs were added. In the last year, Calgary CMA added 20,400 new positions for a total of 818,000 jobs in January 2017.  

Jobs in the professional, scientific and technical services sector, for example, experienced steady growth since a low hitting a low of 82,600 jobs in March 2015 and reached 102,500 in January. The sector hasn’t seen this level of employment since the outset of the oil price crash in September 2014  

Industry sector job gains/losses in the last 12 months ending January 2016 (000s)

# Change
January 2016 - January 2017

% Change
January 2016 - January 2017

Other Services



Professional, Scientific and Technical Services



Transportation and Warehousing



Wholesale & Retail Trade



Health Care and Social Assistance






Business, Building and Other Support Services



Forestry, Fishing, Mining, Quarrying, Oil and Gas



Educational Services



Information, Culture and Recreation






Accommodation and Food Services



Public Administration



Finance, Insurance, Real Estate and Leasing









BY Stephen Ewart

Manager, Communications & Content

Marketing & Communications

Stephen joined our Communications team in 2016 from the Calgary Herald where he was a columnist on the energy industry. He had previously worked in communications roles with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Cenovus Energy, Encana and Precision Drilling and in journalism with The Canadian Press and the Telegraph-Journal in New Brunswick.

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