Located in the heart of Canada's Technology Triangle and within an hour's drive of Metropolitan Toronto, Cambridge is known for its significant number of science and technology companies. Cambridge has four main sectors for which it is strongest and is planning on enhancing. In the manufacturing sector, product design, process design and industrial design are key drivers of productivity and profit. In the Life Sciences sector, product design for medical devices, and facilities design for health services are increasingly important economic factors. Architectural design, interior design, graphic design and web design are major pillars of the small knowledge-based industries sector. In the environmental field, landscape design, environmental design and architectural design are dominant areas. In all four sectors, Cambridge's link to the School of Architecture and the community's role as a growing centre of design expertise create an economic development opportunity that differentiates Cambridge. What appears to be evident among these four targeted sectors is the emergence of the knowledge economy.
With a 2010 population estimate of 130,000 and expected to growth of 180,000 by 2031, jobs in Cambridge are dominated in the manufacturing industry with the City's location being ideal for "Just-In-Time" manufacturing. Ranging in diversity from traditional textile manufacturing to leading edge science and technology firms, jobs in Cambridge in the manufacturing industry are located at companies such as Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada,
ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc., COM DEV International Ltd., Novocol Pharmaceutical of Canada Inc., Loblaw Companies East, Canadian General Tower, and Babcock & Wilcox. Unemployment as of the 2006 Census Report was at 5.9 percent, which was higher than for the Waterloo Region but lower than the Ontario unemployment.
Jobs in Cambridge in small businesses continue to be central to the Cambridge economy, with 50% of the firms having 1-4 employees. According to the 2010 Cambridge Community Profile, manufacturing is the highest industry group for jobs in Cambridge followed second by business services, retail trade, and finally health care and social services being the fourth largest industry for jobs in Cambridge. To add to Cambridge's economic potential is the fact that there are eight universities and twelve college communities within an hour's drive of Cambridge, offering ample opportunities for students and professionals to hold jobs in Cambridge.
Upsetting for available jobs in Cambridge was Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. announcing production shutdowns in the wake of the earthquake in Japan in 2011, although no layoffs were anticipated. However, at the same time, other companies - such as Ionic Engineering Ltd which employs engineers and technicians - was expanding operations in Cambridge.