Kingston is one of Canada's top 25 cities. Representing a 2006 population of 152,358, Kingston is located directly off of Highway 401 allowing easy access to the Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, as well as Montreal. With a healthy balance between public and private sector employment, Kingston's unemployment rate is consistently one of the lowest in Canada sitting at 5.4 percent. The City's relative diversity in dominant industries helps shelter Kingston from economic downturn in specific sectors. Among the top three dominant industries for jobs in Kingston are retail trade, post-secondary education, and food and beverage services.
Kingston's innovative and creative culture is the foundation of the City's stable economy. The Kingston economy has a broad base, with both public and private enterprises, with the private sector accounting for 60 percent of jobs in Kingston. Kingston's strong sector is the core of the economy and in the face of challenging economic times is helping to ensure that growth and investment in Kingston continues. This sheltering effect of sorts has helped Kingston maintain and grow its employment opportunities.
The five largest private sector companies for jobs in Kingston are INVISTA Canada, StarTek Canada, Calian Technologies Ltd., Empire Life Insurance Company, and J.E. Agnew Food Services. The five largest public sector companies for jobs in Kingston are the Canadian Forces Base Kingston, Queen's University, Correctional Services Canada, Kingston General Hospital, and Limestone District School Board.
Kingston's labour force has enviable lifestyle, a lower cost of living compared to larger urban centre and access to premium health care and educational facilities. According to the 2006 StatsCan Census, 65% of Kingston's population participates in the labour force; 54% of the population has a post secondary diploma, certificate or university degree; and 22% of the population has a university degree (Bachelors level or higher). The labour force by occupation shows that the top three occupations that hold jobs in Kingston are in sales in service; business, finance and administration; and social science, education, government service and religion.