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Small business confidence takes small hit in July

While small business optimism levels tick downward, staffing intentions are up slightly.

CALGARY, July 26, 2018 – The Business Barometer® index for Alberta dipped in July, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). Alberta’s small business confidence declined 0.7 points to 55.8, one point below the national index of 56.8.


Full-time staffing intentions are up 2 points, with 17 per cent of business owners looking to increase full-time employees. In contrast, the proportion of entrepreneurs looking to cut back on staff have decreased by a point, now at 14 per cent.


“Although small business confidence has taken a slight hit this month, it is encouraging to see other key indicators tick upwards like the intention to hire,” said Muriel Protzer, Policy Analyst, BC and Alberta.


The state of business health indicator has not changed since June, with 26 per cent of entrepreneurs seeing their firms in good standing. However, there is a 2 point increase in those who see their firms in bad shape, now at 21 per cent.  


“Business owners in Alberta already face a long list of operating and competitive challenges in the market. On top of all that, they also face ever-increasing taxes, regulations, and red tape from government, all of which can weigh heavily on their outlook,” said Protzer.


Measured on a scale between 0 and 100, an index level between 65 and 75 normally indicates that the economy is growing at its potential and a majority of owners expect their business’s performance to be stronger in the next year.


The other provincial numbers were: Prince Edward Island (73.1), Quebec (69.5), Nova Scotia (65.0), Manitoba (60.1), Ontario (56.5), British Columbia (56.1), New Brunswick (55.3), Newfoundland & Labrador (52.9), and Saskatchewan (50.0).


The July 2018 findings are based on 736 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through July 16. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.6 per cent 19 times in 20. 


For media enquiries or interviews, please contact: Muriel Protzer, Policy Analyst for BC and Alberta [email protected] or 403-444-9290. To interview Chief Economist, Ted Mallett, about the national results, please call 416-222-8022. For more information, visit


CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every sector and region. Learn more at