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Entrepreneurs in Alberta are the least confident in the country

Alberta small business optimism slips 3 points in February

CALGARY, February 22 2018 – The latest monthly Business Barometer survey results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) shows Alberta’s small business optimism dropped 3.1 points in February to 56.3.

The loss in confidence moved the province’s national rank to dead last. Alberta continues to lag behind the national index by 6.1 points (62.4).

Twenty-four per cent of entrepreneurs believe the general state of health of their business is good, representing a one-point loss from January. This compares to nineteen per cent of Alberta business owners who describe their
business’ health as poor, unchanged from the previous month.

“Small business optimism edged downward in February with only about a quarter of business owners describing their operations in good shape. With interprovincial trade wars and unnecessary delays on major pipeline projects, it is no surprise that small business confidence has stumbled,” said Amber Ruddy, Director of Provincial Affairs for Alberta.

Hiring intentions are down in February compared to the previous month. Eleven per cent of small business owners plan to increase full-time staff in the next three months, down two points from January. In contrast, seventeen per cent are looking to cut back, representing a one-point decrease from the month before.

“CFIB hopes that there are positive measures in the upcoming provincial budget to inspire confidence among our provinces entrepreneurs. Balancing the budget, making the carbon tax revenue neutral, and thinking through policies from a small business lens are top priorities,” concluded Ruddy.

The national Business Barometer index in January was 62.4, down 0.5 points from January. The other provincial numbers were: Quebec (73.9), Nova Scotia (72.0), British Columbia (69.5), PEI (65.0), Manitoba (63.2), New Brunswick (59.1), Ontario (59.0), Saskatchewan (56.8), and Newfoundland (56.5). 

Measured on a scale between 0 and 100, an index level above 50 means owners expecting their business’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. An index level of between 65 and 75 means the economy is growing at its potential.

The February 2018 findings are based on 659 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflects responses received through to February 12. 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 Andy Radia at 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.

February 22, 2018

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