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AB small business confidence sees downward correction

Entrepreneurs mixed on the state of business health

Calgary, October 26, 2017 – Alberta small business confidence drops two and a half points to 55.2 according to the monthly Business Barometer® index published by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). 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). “About an equal share of entrepreneurs are saying their firms are in good shape compared to bad, but that indicator is moving in the right direction,” said Amber Ruddy, Director of Provincial Affairs for Alberta.

Short-term employment plans are still negative in October. Twenty-two per cent of Alberta business owners intend to reduce full-time positions in the next three months, while 15 per cent are looking to increase staffing levels.

Major cost constraints for Alberta entrepreneurs are tax and regulatory costs (73 per cent), fuel and energy costs (61 per cent) and wage costs (60 per cent). Sixty-one per cent of Alberta firms cite insufficient domestic demand as their main constraint on growth. These indicators didn’t see any movement over last month.“Small Business Week has come and gone and the provincial government missed an important opportunity to celebrate and promote small businesses,” said Ruddy. “The important work our province’s entrepreneurs undertake is going unnoticed at a time when the government should make small business concerns their top priorities.”

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.

Read the October Business Barometer®

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 Andy Radia at 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.

October 26, 2017

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