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Labour Force

Owen Sound's labour pool is highly mobile and of significant size.

Finding skilled employees is not a major problem here. Occasionally, local manufacturers have been forced to seek specialists from major urban centres, usually with excellent results.

In Grey and Bruce counties, there is a strong seasonal component to the labour force due to the tourist season. Therefore, employment opportunities are at their peak during the summer and early fall. Owen Sound's manufacturing sector provides stable employment throughout the year.

The makeup of the Owen Sound and area labour force is similar to the rest of the province, but is slightly skewed towards the service sector.

Labour Force Facts

  • Owen Sound has a direct population of 22,000
  • The urban population (within 15 minutes drive) numbers 35,000
  • The regional labour market is 90,000
  • The total population base for Grey and Bruce Counties is 157,000

Unemployment Rates

  • The City of Owen Sound is part of Economic Region 580. The region includes Perth, Huron, Bruce and Grey counties, which Statistics Canada uses to determine unemployment rates.

Population & Regional Market

Urban Population

Owen Sound's population is estimated at 21,950. However, this does not take into account the significant number of residents living just outside the official boundary.

The urban population of Owen Sound proper, therefore, is more accurately estimated at 32,000 (within five minutes of the city's core).

The Commercial Needs Study includes the nearest townships within the primary trade area. With the townships' population of 27,460, the total primary trade population rises to 49,410.

Note: For purposes of the study, the primary trade area is defined as the area where the population spends the majority of their disposable income within the City of Owen Sound.

Regional Population

Recent population projections indicate a bright future for the City of Owen Sound and the surrounding areas.

Secondary Trade Area Population

The secondary trade area population includes Owen Sound and the rest of Grey and Bruce Counties.

It is estimated to grow to 180,000 from the present 157,370 by 2021.

Traffic Counts


Annual Average Daily Traffic Counts (AADTs) are used by prospective and existing businesses, developers, planners and engineers. AADTs indicate the average daily traffic counts throughout the City of Owen Sound. AADTs were updated in 2006 at 126 locations. For further information contact Engineering Services at 519-376-4530. The City of Owen Sound does not guarantee accuracy of data.

East Side

On Highway 26 (16th Street East), which is the existing power centre with Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire, and the Heritage Place Shopping Centre, the traffic counts are an average 22, 385 daily (up from 18,153 in 1998).


In the downtown core, on 2nd Avenue East, the average annual traffic count is 13,207 (up from 9,164. in 1998)

West Side

At the junction of Highways 6 and 21 on the west hill, the traffic volume is 22, 312 (up from 20,305 in 1998). This number reflects the high tourism traffic here during the summer months.

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