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AB small business confidence bounces back a bit

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Entrepreneurial confidence rebounds slightly in Feb, following a big 16 pt tumble in Dec & Jan; Index remains 25 pts below range that indicates healthy, growing economy.
 

CALGARY, February 28, 2019 – The monthly Business Barometer® index for Alberta bounced back a bit in February, following big drops in the previous two months, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

Small business confidence gained 2.8 points in February to reach 40.3, but continues to lag behind the national average (59.0) by 18.7 points this month, and remains approximately 25 points below the 65 to 75 point range (on the 100 point scale) which indicates a healthy and growing economy. 

Taxes and regulatory costs are continuing to prove to be the biggest challenge business owner's face this year, with 77 per cent identifying it as the most difficult input cost.

The percentage of entrepreneurs describing the state of their business as ‘good’ dipped a point to 14 per cent in February. This compares to 55 per cent who characterize it as ‘satisfactory’, the same as the previous month, and 30 per cent who describe it as ‘bad’, down a point (total does not add to 100 due to rounding).

“Despite a bit of a bounce in February, we still see Alberta’s small business confidence index trailing every other province by a wide margin,” said Richard Truscott, Vice-President, Alberta and BC. “Albertan entrepreneurs are facing a long list of operating challenges, ever-increasing taxes, and growing regulations and red tape from government, all within the context of a struggling economy,” added Truscott.

One third of business owners (33 per cent) are expecting to cut back on full-time staff over the next three to four months, compared to 58 per cent who expect employment levels to remain the same, and 9 per cent who expect it to rise.

The provincial numbers for February were: Nova Scotia (66.3), Quebec (64.8), Ontario (64.1), PEI (60.6), British Columbia (55.4), Saskatchewan (55.2), New Brunswick (54.2), Manitoba (52.6), Newfoundland & Labrador (47.7), Alberta (40.3).

February 2019 findings are based on 829 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through February 15. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.4 per cent 19 times in 20.

For media enquiries or interviews about the Alberta results, please contact Richard Truscott, Vice-President, Alberta and BC, at [email protected] or 403-444-9290. For national results, please contact Ted Mallett, Chief Economist, [email protected] or 647-464-2814

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every industry and region, including 10,000 Alberta members. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca.