Key Industries

Red Deer has a very diverse economy with over 65,500 jobs being provided by over 4,000 businesses.

Red Deer's growing economy is built on historically traditional industries and emerging sectors. Together these traditional and emerging industries are expected to to add close to 10,000 new jobs by 2021. From 2015 to 2016 the strongest percentage of job growth has occurred in the natural resources, agriculture and production as well as the arts, culture recreation and sport. Both categories increased by 10 per cent. The strongest industry growth by total number of jobs is the trades, transportation and equipment operators sector with an increase of 1,170 jobs from 2015 to 2016. Below we have more information on the top industries and occupations in Red Deer.

The top five industries include:

  1. Retail trade
  2. Health care services and social assistance
  3. Construction
  4. Oil and gas extraction
  5. Manufacturing.

These five industries provide over 50 per cent of the jobs in Red Deer.

Top Industries in Red Deer

Retail Trade

inside a retail store

Red Deer's largest industry represents firms that are engaged in offering good and services directly to customers with a total of 8,416 jobs in total. This is an increase of 1,098 jobs from 2015 to 2016 which equals a growth of 8 per cent. In Red Deer you can find a clusters of box stores providing goods and services in the south end of the city. In Downtown Red Deer you will find smaller, trendy, unique stores and to the north you can find more light industrial shops and businesses. These businesses serve the City of Red Deer population and also attract customers from the Central Alberta region with over 271,000 within the immediate trade area.   

Health Care and Social Assistance

Photo of an RDC student working towards Health Care diploma. As the fourth largest city in Alberta and the largest city in Central Alberta, Red Deer has become a hub for health care and related services. Red Deer's Regional Hospital and Alberta Health Services are major employers in this industry and in all of Red Deer. The industry has seen a growth of 9 per cent from 2015 to 2016, providing 418 new jobs in Red Deer for a new total of 13,365. This growth is above the provincial growth rate of 3.2 per cent. The Health Care and Social Assistance industry is expected to see more growth as the population's median age increases. Estimates say there will be a need for another 1,400 workers by 2021 in Red Deer. In 2015 Red Deer College had 212 graduates in various health care related fields.


two workers putting in kitchen cabinets

The construction industry provides over 6,000 jobs in Red Deer which is equal to 9.6 per cent of all jobs in our city.  This industry has experienced a decline of 3.4 per cent from December 2015 to December 2016. With residential developments such as Timberlands and Riverlands and the investment into projects to prepare for the 2019 Canada Winter Games this industry has been positioned well to continue to grow during the economic downturn. Red Deer College had 182 in construction related graduates in 2015, which keeps the industry well supplied with qualified and skilled workers.

Oil and Gas Extraction

pump jack with red sky in backgroundRed Deer is known for the oilfield production services which support Alberta's largest industry. The region's competitive expertise is a source of innovation in the oil and gas sector. In Red Deer, local companies employ 5,619 people and are responsible for innovation in oil services technologies, equipment fabrication and transportation. This industry in Red Deer is adaptive, nimble and competitive with companies across the world. Companies in Red Deer sell and ship their products to customers all over the world.


Drill bit completeOne of the driving forces behind Red Deer's economic vitality is the manufacturing industry. We have over 250 manufacturers in the Red Deer area that provide over 5,000 jobs to residents. Virtually every component used in the oil and gas industry is manufactured here. Our manufacturers are leaders in supplying metal fabrication, petrochemicals and drilling equipment. From 2015 to 2016 manufacturing in Red Deer has experienced an increase of 160 jobs which is a 7 per cent growth. In 2015 Red Deer College had over 500 graduates from manufacturing related trades which is a huge asset for the existing businesses as well as new companies coming to Red Deer.

Value Added Agriculture

Olymel line in factory

Red Deer's access to primary resources is key to its strong agriculture and agri-processing industry. Major meat producers like Olymel and Nossack Food Group are processing and distributing beef, pork, lamb and poultry throughout Canada and shipping around the world.

Transportation & Logistics

A logging truck on HWY 2Red Deer's central location in Alberta offers businesses an ideal place for transportation, warehousing and distribution industries. Located along the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Highway, Red Deer has access to over 81 per cent of Alberta's population within a two-hour drive. This highway corridor is subject to more than 16 million trips annually between the major urban centres of Calgary and Edmonton, with Red Deer at the center.

There are over 600 transportation and warehousing companies in the greater Red Deer region, of which 97 per cent employ 50 people or less. This sector contributes $10.2 billion annually to the Alberta economy, and employs more than 134,000 people across the province which is an increase of 5.1 per cent from December 2015 to December 2016. With the expansion of the Red Deer Regional Airport the transportation industry in Red Deer is ready to become even larger and will further contribute and add growth to the local economy.


The top three occupations in Red Deer are:

  1. Sales and service
  2. Trades and equipment operators
  3. Business and finance

Each of the top three categories provides over 10,000 jobs each. All three are growth industries with each growing by approximately 8 per cent from 2015.