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Economic Indicators

If there is any community in Alberta that can make the claim of balanced growth, it is Lethbridge.

Lethbridge’s increasingly diversified economic base benefits from the healthy mix of businesses that are anchored to our community. The industry diversity in our city fosters a healthy business environment and also creates potential for future enhancement and development opportunities. 

 Economic Indicators
  2015 2016(f) 2017(f)
GDP 1.1 1.3 1.8
Employment 66,000 55,000 55,000
Unemployment 4.0% 4.5% 4.5%
Population 113,000 116,000 118,000

Lethbridge has a gross domestic product of approximately $5.8 billion and an urban population of nearly 97,000 in a trading area of over 341,000.  Lethbridge is the hub of the agricultural region of Southern Alberta. Additionally, a 2015 Conference Board of Canada Mid-Sized Cities Report noted that there has also been healthy growth among the information and cultural industries in Lethbridge over the past five years, no doubt from the presence of two post-secondary institutions and the emergence of Lethbridge as a significant high-tech presence in Alberta. 

View the media release to learn more about the mid-sized cities comparative statistics.

Economic Indicators of Industry

A 2013 survey of Lethbridge industry which included a cross-section of manufacturing, agri-food, supply chain and logistics, construction and information technology was conducted in partnership with MNP.

The results provide an overview of economic indicators of industry as based on the responses of 47 medium to large size companies in Lethbridge in the areas of corporate revenues, current and anticipated workforce levels, export locations and areas of investment. While this sample group of companies represents the major wealth-generating clusters in Lethbridge, the information is based on those who were able to respond and is by no means a representation of all related activity. 

The surveyed companies:

  • employ 4,500 people, or 9 per cent of the labour force
  • generated more than $2 billion in annual revenue in 2012
  • reported a total payroll of $260 million
  • occupy 4.4 million square feet of facility space
  • 62 per cent are branch offices
  • 50 per cent are expecting  to increase their workforce over the next year
  • 85 per cent export their products - with the neighbouring provinces and states as the primary destinations
  • 55 per cent invested in technology and 72 per cent in equipment making these the most predominant areas for investment in 2012
Industry Specific Highlights
  • The Manufacturing sector has a total payroll of more than $120 million and nearly 60 per cent of the companies surveyed indicated they would be adding additional employees in 2013/2014
  • The Agri-Food companies generated more than $1.2 billion in annual revenue in 2012. Industry investment primarily focused on equipment and technology with 64 per cent investing in this area followed by 41 per cent investing in research and development. As well, 100 per cent of surveyed companies export their products across Canada.
  • More than 64 per cent of the Supply Chain and Logistics companies surveyed indicated an average increase of 13 per cent in total number of employees. In 2013/2014, 88 per cent of these companies anticipate adding new employees.
  • Of the Construction companies surveyed, 67 per cent have their head office in Lethbridge. This is the largest percentage across the sectors.
  • In Information Technology, 100 per cent of the companies surveyed indicated they have invested in Research and Development during 2012 and will continue investing in this area over the next 12 months.
View the Economic Indicators of Industry Results Overview here.

With no business, payroll or machinery tax, available serviced industrial land ready for construction and office space at less than $15 per square foot, Lethbridge offers a low-cost operating environment with demonstrated savings in areas such as taxation, land, construction and transportation. The location is enhanced by highly effective transportation systems that include the Lethbridge County Airport, a municipal airport that connects people and goods to any destination.

In a 2014 international business cost study by management consultants KPMG, Lethbridge ranked competitively in terms of tax, facility costs, and natural gas costs. 

Competitive Rankings
  • Alberta Venture Magazine ranked Lethbridge as one of the top 25 communities for business in all of Western Canada in 2012 and one of the top three communities for IT/High Tech.
  • KPMG's Competitive Alternatives, Guide to International Business Location Costs 2014,  indicates that of 131 cities worldwide, Lethbridge, Alberta ranks as the 6th most cost competitive city in the world in relation to tax costs, and the 4th in Alberta.  In fact, Canadian cities rank the best in relation to a competitive tax environment, holding 24 of the top 30 spots.  Canada is the freest economy in the North American Region and ranks 6th in the world according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom.  
Some of Canada's key economic freedom rankings include:
  • Property Rights -  2nd in the world. The report highlighted that in Canada the foundations of economic freedom are solid and private property is well protected with an independent and transparent judicial system firmly in place. 
  • Financial Freedom -  4th in the world. A testament to the stable Canadian banking sector, that weathered the global financial turmoil with no needs for bail outs of injection of public funds.
  • Trade Freedom - 9th in the world. The trade regime in Canada is very competitive, with a low 0.9 percent average tariff and few non-tariff barriers. The country’s openness and flexibility strongly sustain an efficient and dynamic investment environment.
  • Freedom from Corruption - 10th in the world. In Canada effective anti-corruption measures discourage bribery of public officials and uphold the government’s reputation for integrity. Contract enforcement is very secure and protection of intellectual property rights is consistent with world standards.
  • Business Freedom - 16th in the world. Canada’s highly competitive regulatory framework promotes business formation and operation. With no minimum capital standards, starting a company requires only one procedure.
Learn more about Lethbridge's core industries and the economic environment by visiting Key Industries or contact us directly. We are always happy to help.
Heather McIntosh-Rivera
Director, Business Development & Operations
Ph: (403) 331-0022
Toll Free: 1-800-332-1801 

Economic Development Lethbridge
308 Stafford Drive South
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada   T1J 2L1

Phone: (403) 331-0022
Fax: (403) 331-0202
Toll Free: 1-800-332-1801

E-Mail: info@chooselethbridge.ca

Investment Inquiries Contact:
Heather McIntosh-Rivera, Director
Business Development & Operations

Phone: (403) 331-0022
E-Mail: heather@chooselethbridge.ca

Convention & Events Contact:
Erin Crane, Director
Meeting, Event & Partnership Development

Phone: (403) 331-0022
E-Mail: erin@chooselethbridge.ca

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