The Alberta Government recently announced that job growth has gone up, with 14 000 jobs created in October and 103 000 jobs gained since 2021's October.

This provincial job growth has been great for Strathmore as well, with Town of Strathmore CAO Kevin Scoble explaining the most recent Labour Force Survey showing unemployment in our region is at around 5.6%, which is down from 10.2% in October 2021.

How important is our job growth? More local jobs lead to a healthier economy, an organically growing community, and even further opportunity. Scoble said $1 spent locally has an economic impact return of $7. Past Chair of the SWCC Hayley Poirier explained that this is because money spent in our local economy can be used to boost our local economy in other ways.

"When dollars are spent locally, they can turn into re-spent money locally as well, raising the overall economic activity. It pays for more salaries, it helps building into the local tax base. It's like recirculating money and it leads to more economic activity. When you or I go and spend money locally at a store, then that store can buy more supplies, they can hire more people, and those people that they hire probably will go out and spend locally, and maybe they even need childcare or other services in town so it actually recirculates that money," she said. 

Job growth clearly brings a lot to our community, and Scoble said the town has been able to work towards these benefits by prioritizing investment attraction. For example, Phyto Organix in Strathmore and De Havilland Aircraft Facility outside in Wheatland County alone will bring around 1580 jobs to our region. Scoble added it's not just headline grabbers that the town is interested in though.

"Other areas the town supports job growth is by working closely with our local business stakeholders SWCC (Strathmore Wheatland Chamber of Commerce) and CFWR (Community Futures Wild Rose) to name a few. The Mayor, CAO, and Economic Sustainability and Investment Officer have regular engagements with them and are focusing on increasing these further to provide updates on town initiatives related to business retention, resiliency, expansion, and attraction. These events give the town an opportunity to listen and learn what is needed and how we can do better,' he said in a written statement.

As for continuing to build job growth, economic opportunity, and increased sales, Poirier said the SWCC and town are both working on something that has been long requested: more signage, or as Poirier calls it, "way finding." Poirier explains signs are a really important way for people to know where to find businesses they may otherwise not know about, and it's also a good advertising tool. While it is difficult to put signs up on the highways due to many provincial regulations, Poirier said there could be ways to work around this problem.

"We've approached different business owners who might be able to be accommodating. If I was to approach a business that's parking lot is near the highway, I might be able to create an opportunity with them where I can put signage on their property that's as close to the highway as you can get while still maintaining the regulations that the highway has requested, so that's definitely a way around it."

Incoming job growth naturally leads to community growth as well, which Scoble said the town is preparing for by increasing capacity for social services, diverse housing considerations, future development planning, and regional collaboration with other organizations. With our town's future looking bright with plenty of jobs and growth on the way, Poirier said the benefits to the community go even beyond the numbers.

"There is also a less measurable aspect but a very important one to job growth and that is a positive sense of renewed hope. I think we've recently experienced the excitement of some of these larger businesses that are coming to the area and all of us can kind of feel this renewed energy and hopefulness in regards to what's happening." 

With many local jobs on the way and our economy projected to grow, it's possible this hope will soon turn into results and tangible economic gains.

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