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Alberta small business confidence on the rise

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Alberta index continues to close gap with rest of Canada

Calgary, April 27, 2017 – Alberta small business confidence rose about two and a half points in April to 57.9, according to the monthly Business Barometer® index published by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).  Nationally, small business confidence gained a point and a half to finish the month at 64.4 -its highest level since November 2014.

“Rebounding optimism among Alberta’s entrepreneurs means the provincial index is approaching the national average.  Other provinces are clustered around 60 points, so it is refreshing to see Alberta’s small business confidence numbers continue to close the gap.  The outlook of business owners in our province has certainly come a long way since the depths of the recent recession,” said Amber Ruddy, Director of Provincial Affairs for Alberta.

Short-term employment plans are still negative.  Twenty-three per cent of business owners are looking to reduce full-time staff within the next three months, up one point, while fifteen per cent are looking to hire, up two points over March.

Twenty-one per cent of business owners report their firms are in good shape, while 28 per cent say their operations are in bad shape, compared to 19 and 30 per cent respectively last month.

The top major cost constraints for Alberta entrepreneurs are: tax and regulatory costs (72 per cent) and fuel and energy costs (68 per cent).  Sixty-one per cent of Alberta businesses cite insufficient domestic demand as their top limitation.

“The shocks experienced in the natural resource sector have largely dissipated and businesses are starting to warm-up to a better economic reality.  Business confidence is recovering but fragile, and it will take some time to restore strong optimism levels we saw a few years ago,” said Ruddy.

The other provincial numbers were: Ontario (68.7), British Columbia (67.1), Nova Scotia (66.3), Quebec (65.7), Manitoba (63.5), New Brunswick (63.5), PEI (60.3), Saskatchewan (55.1) and Newfoundland & Labrador (43.8).

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.

April 2017 findings are based on 653 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey.  Data reflect responses received through April 16.  Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.8 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.