The City of Kawartha Lakes, with a population of 74,561, supports a diverse economic base. Generally, manufacturing and agriculture represent two of the largest sectors in the local economy. Tourism, retail and commercial uses continue as steady and healthy contributors to the economy. Famous for its natural beauty, cultural features, and location on the Trent-Severn Waterway, the City of Kawartha Lakes is naturally one of the most popular cottage and tourist destinations in Ontario; thus allowing for the tourism industry to represent a significant component of the number of jobs in Kawartha Lakes. In 2007, tourism contributed about $75 million to the local economy. There is potential for growth in this sector, particularly in the areas of eco/nature tourism, education/learning vacations, sustainable development/resource conservation, and maintaining healthy lifestyles. In retail/commerce there are over 3,500 businesses providing jobs in Kawartha Lakes.
According to occupation, sales and service hold 26 percent of the jobs in Kawartha Lakes, followed by trade occupations at 20 percent and management occupations at nine percent. Some of the major private sector employers in Kawartha Lakes are Armada Toolworks Ltd., Sykes, Northern Casket Ltd., Kawartha Dairy Ltd., and Holsag Canada. Major public sector employers for jobs in Kawartha Lakes are the City of Kawartha Lakes, Trillium Lakeland District School Board, Ross Memorial Hospital, Central East Correctional Centre, and Sir Sandford Fleming College Post. The unemployment rate for the City of Kawartha Lakes is 6.2 percent.
Manufacturing opportunities are leading economic growth for jobs in Kawartha Lakes. There are approximately 120 manufacturers within the City of Kawartha Lakes of which 25 percent are actively involved in exporting to markets around the globe. Agriculture has traditionally been a dominant land use and economic force in the City of Kawartha Lakes. Agriculture and agriculturally related businesses generate significant economic activity through both direct and indirect employment.