AB small business confidence sees downward correction

Entrepreneurs mixed on the state of business health

Alberta small business confidence drops two and a half points to 55.2 in October. The Alberta index now sits two points below the national average and ten points below where the economy is at its growing potential.

For the first time in two years, the number of entrepreneurs that see their firms in good shape (24 cent) slightly exceeds those that describe the general state of business health in bad shape (22 per cent).  

  • Hiring plans are still negative in October with 22 per cent of small business owners saying they will reduce their full-time workforce and 15 per cent say they intend to hire.
  • Cost constraints stemming from tax and regulatory costs are a concern for 73 per cent of small businesses, followed closely by fuel, energy costs at 61 per cent, and wage costs at 60 per cent.
  • Insufficient domestic demand is the top limitation for 61 per cent of entrepreneurs.

After four months of straight decline, Canada's small business optimism inched up 0.3 points to 57.2.  The provincial numbers were: Quebec (67.6), Nova Scotia (62.5), British Columbia (61.9), New Brunswick (56.3), Manitoba (55.5), Ontario (55.5), PEI (53.6), Saskatchewan (52.7), and Newfoundland & Labrador (48.3).

Measured on a scale of 0 and 100, an index level above 50 means owners expecting their businesses’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance.  According to past results, index levels normally range between 65 and 75 when the economy is growing at its potential.

October 2017 findings are based on 727 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey.  Data reflect responses received through September 18.  Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.6 per cent, 19 times in 20.