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Alberta small business confidence dips in August

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Alberta now ranks lowest in Canada; taxes and red tape causing greatest difficulty for entrepreneurs

CALGARY, August 30, 2018 – The monthly Business Barometer® index for Alberta took another step back in August according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). Small business confidence declined 1.9 points this month to 53.9, putting it 7.7 points below the national average (61.6).

Full-time staffing intentions in August were down four points from the previous month, with 13 per cent of business owners looking to increase full-time employees. In contrast, the proportion of entrepreneurs looking to cut back on staff decreased by a point, now also sitting at 13 per cent.

“It’s unfortunate to see small business confidence take another hit this month. Taxes and regulatory costs ranked, by far, as the greatest cost constraint for independent businesses in August,” said Muriel Protzer, Policy Analyst, B.C. and Alberta. Seventy–seven percent of business owners surveyed identified it as major issue.

“Moving forward, it is critical for governments at all levels to consider the compounding effect these costs can have on smaller firms,” added Protzer.

The state of business health indicator worsened in August, with 24 per cent of entrepreneurs seeing their firms in good shape (down 2 points). Additionally, the number of business owners who view their firms as being in bad health is now at 22 per cent (up 1 point).

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 for August were: PEI (74.0), Quebec (71.8), Nova Scotia (66.9), Manitoba (62.4), New Brunswick (58.0), Saskatchewan (57.9), Ontario (57.6), Newfoundland and Labrador (56.5), and British Columbia (55.9).

The August 2018 findings are based on 768 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through August 20. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.5 per cent 19 times in 20.

For media enquiries or interviews about the Alberta results, please contact Muriel Protzer, Policy Analyst for BC and Alberta, [email protected] or 403-444-9290. For national results, please contact Ted Mallett, Chief Economist, [email protected] or 647-464-2814

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every sector and region, including 10,000 in AB. Learn more at cfib.ca.