Business Barometer®: Alberta small business confidence sees some improvement at the end of April

Calgary, April 29, 2020 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its April Business Barometer® today revealing Alberta’s small business confidence took another step in the right direction increasing nearly 10 points in the second half of April to an index of 46.7 points. Alberta’s index is now ahead the national index of 46.4 points.

“The increase in the Barometer® is perhaps better described as moderating pessimism rather than improving optimism and indicates that some Alberta’s businesses are accessing federal and provincial support programs,” said Annie Dormuth, CFIB’s Alberta provincial affairs director. “However, as restrictions are gradually lifted businesses will need additional help to adjust to a new economic reality and be able to operate while following safe health practices and guidelines.”

Only four per cent of Alberta business owners say their business is in a good state, compared to 59 per cent who say their business is doing poorly. Hiring plans are still quite weak in Alberta with only 7 per cent of business owners planning to hire full-time staff in the next three months, while half are planning for layoffs.

“Small business sentiment is far from being in a state of recovery, but there are some signs of improvement this month, with business metrics like hiring and wage plans still low but seeing an uptick over last month,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s vice-president and chief economist. “This could be a reflection of more refined policy responses from government as well as businesses learning to operate more effectively under trying conditions.”

National small business confidence gained almost 9 points to 46.4 points in the second half of April. The provincial numbers for April are: Ontario (52.6), Saskatchewan (50.8), Alberta (46.7), British Columbia (46.0), Nova Scotia (45.3), Manitoba (45.0), Prince Edward Island (43.1), New Brunswick (39.2), Newfoundland & Labrador (32.1) and Quebec (32.1).

An index level near to 65 indicates that the economy is growing at its potential.

Changes in Barometer release schedule

Due to rapidly evolving economic conditions impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic, CFIB has increased the frequency of its Business Barometer Survey from monthly to bi-monthly through June 2020. CFIB will release results for early May on May 14.

The mid-April findings are based on 1786 responses from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received on April 20th to the 22nd. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 2.3 per cent 19 times in 20.
For media enquiries about the Alberta results, please contact:
Annie Dormuth, CFIB’s Alberta Director of provincial affairs at or 403-700-1945. For national results, please contact Ted Mallett, Chief Economist, 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 in Alberta. 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