Wood Buffalo Economic Development

Workforce Statistics

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Workforce statistics

  • Increased oil sands industry growth and production is expected to create more than 50,000 permanent oil sands jobs in Wood Buffalo alone. The anticipated population growth necessary to accommodate that job growth will see an estimated 125,000 new residents in our region.
  • The benefits of oil sands growth doesn’t end at the municipality borders, however, and employment in all of Canada related to oil sands development is expected to grow from 75,000 jobs to 905,000 by 2035. Oil sands development is fuelling economic and employment growth not only in Wood Buffalo but across the country.

Oil sands operational employment, 2011
Oil sands operational employment, 2011

Looking at all future operations, it is estimated that 32,500 or 65% of all operational jobs will be within 75 kilometres of Fort McMurray and over 90% of all future oil sands employment in the region will be within 100 kilometres of Fort McMurray.

Top Jobs in Demand:

  • Heavy-duty Equipment Mechanics
  • Instrumentation Technicians
  • Oil and Gas Well Drillers, Servicers, Testers and Related Workers, Operators and Labourers
  • Operators – Steam and Non-steam Ticket
  • Truck Drivers

Top 3 Employers:


 Number of Employees



Suncor Energy Inc.


Shell Canada


 Information source: YLM Data

Over the entire three-year period [2008-2010], the Wood Buffalo – Cold Lake region had by far the largest employment growth with an increase of almost 12%.

Umemployment rate comparison, 2011
2011 Monthly Unemployment Rate Comparison

Wood Buffalo – Cold Lake was the only region in Alberta that increased its employment level during the recession.

Employment by Industry





Accommodation and Food
            4,100             5,100             1,000
Agriculture             1,900



Business, Building and Other
Support Services
            2,300             3,700             1,400
Construction             7,300             7,900                600
Educational Services             4,800             4,900                100
Finance, Insurance, Real
Estate and Leasing
            2,400             2,900                500
Forestry, Fishing, Mining, Oil
and Gas
          18,700           17,600            (1,100)
Health Care and Social
            4,700             5,500                800
Information, Culture and




Manufacturing             1,800             1,900                100
Other Services             3,900             2,800            (1,100)
Professional, Scientific and
Technical Services
            2,800             2,700               (100)
Public Administration             2,800             2,800                    –
Trade             8,900           10,200             1,300
Transportation and
            3,700             4,100                400




 Information source: Government of Alberta
*Industries classified by North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS)
**Insufficient data

For more information on our workforce:
Workforce statisticsOur workforce