Business Barometer®: April brings some improvement to Alberta small business confidence

Calgary, April 8, 2020 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) Business Barometer® saw Alberta small business confidence increase by almost 11 points in April to 36.8 after falling to a record low of 26.2 points in March. Alberta’s index is the third lowest in the country and is only slightly behind the national index of 37.7 points. CFIB considers an index level closer to 65 an indication that the economy is growing at its potential.
“Even though businesses are not operating as usual, the increase in Alberta’s index indicates measures already announced by governments have provided some relief,” said Annie Dormuth, CFIB’s Alberta Director of Provincial Affairs. “However, small businesses are still facing many challenges and governments need to ensure further relief measures are implemented quickly to help small businesses survive and be able to recover once this is over.” 
Only 4 per cent of Alberta small businesses foresee adding on fulltime staff in the next three months, while 66 per cent say they will have to cut back. Six per cent of business owners say their business is in a good state, compared to 62 per cent who say it is in a bad state.
“The small bounce back in business confidence we’ve seen since the beginning of the month is a sign that the raft of unprecedented government intervention has had some effect, but we’re nowhere near a return to business as usual,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s vice-president and chief economist. “In fact, even more business owners are planning to lay off staff in the next three months than when we surveyed them two weeks ago.”
Provincial results: Sentiment evens out but remains low in all provinces
Quebec remained the least optimistic province, though it gained 8.7 index points to 24.4. Newfoundland and Labrador (36.1), Alberta (36.8) and British Columbia (37.8) all posted results close to the national average. New Brunswick (47.3) and Manitoba (46.2) were the most optimistic provinces. Ontario (41.0), Saskatchewan (42.6), Prince Edward Island (45.5) and Nova Scotia (45.9) all posted middle-of-the-pack results in the low- to mid-40s.
Changes in Barometer release schedule
Due to rapidly evolving economic conditions impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic, CFIB will increase the frequency of its Business Barometer Survey from monthly to bi-monthly through June 2020. CFIB will release results for mid-April on April 30.
Early April 2020 findings are based on 1,602 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received on April 1 and 2. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 2.4 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, with 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