Economic Data

Community Growth

The oil sands deposits have fuelled unprecedented growth in Wood Buffalo. Economic activity within the Municipality is so important that it impacts global energy production and prices.  Locally, exceptional opportunities exist for businesses that are prepared to tap the unconventional attitude and work style that defines the Municipality. For every job created at the oil and gas plants, three are created in the region – industrial, commercial or retail.

Fort McMurray is the fast-growing commercial and residential hub within the Municipality supporting a population that exceeds 100,000.  It is a young community with a median age of 32 years that is culturally diverse and includes a significant number of new residents.  The residents have high disposable income and enviable lifestyle options.  Approximately 64% of households in Wood Buffalo have an income above $100,000.

Industries and services associated with oilsands extraction and manufacturing fuel the Municipality’s economic engine. Forestry and tourism also contribute to its prosperity. As the Municipality grows and matures, the opportunities for small and medium sized businesses will be plentiful. Commercial and retail businesses in particular will benefit from planned expansions – to neighbourhoods, business parks, shopping districts and the airport.

Did you know:

  • Wood Buffalo was named the sixth best entrepreneurial city in Canada by Canadian Federation of Independent Business in 2011.  Within the mid-sized category, we ranked as the 3rd best entrepreneurial city.
  • In 2011, Alberta Venture Magazine named Wood Buffalo as one of the top 25 best communities for business and second best resource community in Western Canada.
  • Wood Buffalo is the only region in Alberta that did not suffer declines in employment during the recession.  In fact, Wood Buffalo had by far the largest employment growth with an increase of nearly 12% over the three year period (2008-2010).
  • Overall, Wood Buffalo residents enjoy incomes 95% higher than the national average. 
  • With increased oil sands activity and labour demand, we expect our population to more than double, over 230,000 people, by 2030.