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Small business confidence in Alberta stuck in neutral

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AB remains below the national average with 1/3 saying their firm is in bad shape

 

Calgary, August 31, 2017 – Alberta small business confidence remains largely unchanged in August at 57.8, two points below the Canadian average, according to the monthly Business Barometer® index published by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). 

Twenty-one per cent of business owners’ report their firms are in good shape, up one point from July, while one-in-three (31 per cent) say their operations are in bad shape, up six points from the month before. 

“Red flags persist in small business owners’ future outlook and that comes through clearly when more business owners are reducing their workforce rather than adding to it,” said Amber Ruddy, Director of Provincial Affairs for Alberta.  “Entrepreneurs in Alberta seem to be more realistic than optimistic in this end of summer small business pressure check,” added Ruddy. 

Short-term employment plans continue to be negative overall with 18 per cent of Alberta businesses intending to reduce full-time positions, while only 12 per cent are looking to increase staffing levels in the next three months.  These employment plans are largely unchanged from July. 

The major cost constraints for Alberta entrepreneurs continue to be tax and regulatory costs (72 per cent), followed by wage costs (61 per cent) and fuel and energy costs (59 per cent).  Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of Alberta businesses cite insufficient domestic demand as their main constraint to business growth and sales.“Policy decisions from the federal and provincial government don’t seem to be making it easier for entrepreneurs.  It’s a shame too few politicians used the summer months to connect with small business owners in their constituencies,” said Ruddy. 

Canada's small business optimism dropped by just under a point in August to 59.8.  The other provincial numbers were: PEI (72.7), Quebec (71.5), New Brunswick (67.6), Nova Scotia (66.7), Manitoba (65.2), British Columbia (63.3), Ontario (56.9), Newfoundland & Labrador (54.5), and Saskatchewan (52.9). 

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. 

August 2017 findings are based on 706 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey.  Data reflect responses received through August 21.  Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.7 per cent 19 times in 20.                                                                                                  

To speak with Amber Ruddy, Alberta Director, please contact [email protected] or 403-444-9290. To arrange an interview with Ted Mallett, Chief Economist, about the national results, please contact Kiara Morrissey at 416-222-8022, 647-464-2814 or [email protected]

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region, including 10,000 in Alberta.