Greatest Show on Earth Signals Calgary Recovery

Greatest Show on Earth Signals Calgary Recovery

The Calgary Stampede is more than just a rodeo – it’s a strong indicator of Calgary’s growing and resilient economy, says Premier Rachel Notley.

“This year, the Stampede barometer says our economic storms are passing. We know there is more work to do and we won’t stop until every family feels the recovery, but things are looking up. We see a lot of reason for optimism in corporate Calgary’s investment in this year’s Stampede.”

~Rachel Notley, Premier

One signal of Calgary’s recovering economy is foreshadowed through the Stampede’s annual tarp auction. Potential sponsors for chuckwagon tarps gathered earlier this year and bid a collective $3.2 million – a 34 per cent increase from last year.

“As we head into the 106th Calgary Stampede, we know our business community is feeling inspired about the future – 56 per cent of Calgary businesses are planning to hire new staff this year. It’s important to remember that the Stampede doesn’t just happen for 10 days, it is contributing to our economy 365 days of the year. It is great to see this year’s tarp auction support what we are seeing on the streets: Calgary businesses are ready to move forward, invest and grow in this economy.”

~Sandip Lalli, president and CEO, Calgary Chamber of Commerce

Families and business in Calgary were hit hard during the recession and, while confidence in the economy is growing, the government continues to fight for Alberta jobs.

Last year, Alberta gained 90,000 jobs and led the rest of the country with the strongest GDP at 4.9 per cent.

“The ‘energy’ is definitely back in the Calgary business community as companies feel more optimistic about commodity prices, but it’s also about how they’ve weathered the storm and are seeing the opportunities innovation will present to ensure their long-term prosperity.”

~Mary Moran, president & CEO, Calgary Economic Development

While the economy continues to recover, Premier Notley recently announced important progress on the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project, which will help create tens of thousands of jobs, ensure Canadians get fair value for our oil in international markets and help keep us moving forward on our climate change commitments.

This will mean more money for health care, schools, roads and public transit across Canada. Getting Canadian energy to tidewater through the expansion of this pipeline will help Albertans and Canadians.

The government has also invested in important Calgary infrastructure to spur on local economic activity, including the Calgary Cancer Centre and the Calgary Ring Road.

So let’s kick up our heels, kick off Stampede, and let the future begin!

Quick facts

  • Jobs are up: 90,000 new full-time jobs were created last year, 8,000 new jobs were created in March and Alberta leads the country in labour participation. RBC is forecasting Alberta to lead the country in job growth this year.
  • GDP growth is up: We led the country with 4.9 per cent growth last year. TD’s latest forecast projects Alberta to lead the country again in 2018 and 2019 – three years running. In 2017, Alberta’s real per capita GDP was $23,675 higher than the Canadian average.
  • Small business confidence is up: The Business Development Bank of Canada says small business confidence is up in Alberta. Thirty-five per cent of small businesses are looking to hire more staff and 73 per cent say they’ll invest in their business in 2018.
  • Manufacturing is up: Alberta again leads Western Canada; manufacturing sales are up over five per cent and more than $1 billion over this same time last year.
  • Exports are up: We’re starting 2018 much stronger than last year – exports are up eight per cent. Energy exports were up $19.4 billion in 2017.
  • Wages are up: As of April of this year, average weekly earnings in Alberta are up again, an increase of 2.6 per cent to $1,157.
  • Retail is up: Retail sales are at the highest level that they’ve ever been, growing 7.5 per cent in 2017.
  • EI numbers are down: Alberta recorded the fastest year-over-year decline in the number of beneficiaries among all provinces, down 26.4 per cent as more folks get back to work and our economy grows.


  • Calgary is the fastest growing city on the Prairies this year and is forecast to be the fastest growing city in the country next year.
  • The Conference Board of Canada explicitly pointed to projects like the Calgary Cancer Centre and the Green Line LRT as reasons why Calgary’s economy is growing.
  • Compared to a year ago, Calgary created more than 31,000 new full-time jobs and employment grew by over 3.3 per cent.