Business Barometer®: New season doesn’t bring new confidence for Alberta small businesses

Calgary, June 29, 2020 – Alberta small business confidence showed little change in June, increasing only 0.2 points to an index of 55.7 on the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)’s Business Barometer®.

“Although most Alberta businesses have been given the go-ahead to reopen in Phase 2, operating conditions continue to be a major challenge and things are certainly not business-as-usual,” said Keyli Kosiorek, CFIB’s Alberta policy analyst.

On average, Alberta businesses are operating at only 51.9 per cent capacity, a 2.3-point improvement on late May estimates, but well under what is necessary to be reliably profitable.

Only 9 per cent of Alberta business owners say their business is in a good state, compared to 48 per cent who say their business is in bad shape. Hiring plans remain quite weak in Alberta with only 7 per cent of business owners planning to hire full-time staff in the next three months, while 33 per cent foresee cuts. 

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

Provincial results: Prince Edward Island rebounds, Quebec still trails the rest of Canada

Nova Scotia had the highest optimism level in the country (62.3), followed by Prince Edward Island (60.9). Quebec had the lowest optimism level (38.1) followed by New Brunswick (46.6). British Columbia (53.6) and Ontario (54.0) posted results near the national average, while Manitoba (55.3), Alberta (55.7), Newfoundland and Labrador (58.3) and Saskatchewan (59.1) modestly exceeded it.

Industry results: Natural resources claims lowest confidence level

The natural resources sector posted the lowest sectoral optimism level at 40.0 index points, followed by arts and recreation (44.1) and agriculture (45.3). Wholesale (61.2) and financial services (60.6) had the highest optimism levels and were the only sectors to top 60 index points. All other sectors ranked within five points of the national average.

The June findings are based on 919 responses from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey Data reflect responses received from June 2 to 15. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.2 per cent 19 times in 20.         

For media enquiries about the Alberta results, please contact Keyli Kosiorek, CFIB’s Alberta policy analyst at or 403-874-2618. 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 (10,000 in Alberta) across every industry and region. 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