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Small business confidence in Alberta holds steady

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National average drops below Alberta for first time in 2 ½ years

Calgary, June 29, 2017 – Alberta small business confidence remains largely unchanged in June at 61.7, according to the monthly Business Barometer® index published by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). Small business confidence in Alberta now sits about one point above the Canadian average for the first time since the decline in global oil prices.  The national decline can be localized to a 10 point drop in Ontario.

“Stalled business confidence is a sign that owners may be seriously assessing the impact of radical labour legislation,” said Amber Ruddy, Director of Provincial Affairs for Alberta.  “With hiring plans still negative, now is not the time to implement sweeping labour changes that put a chill on plans to hire,” added Ruddy. 

Twenty-one per cent of business owners report their firms are in good shape, down three points from May, while 24 per cent say their operations are in bad shape, down two points from the month before.  Short-term employment plans remain negative with 20 per cent of Alberta businesses intending to reduce full time staffing positions, while only 14 per cent are looking to increase staffing levels in the next three months. 

The major cost constraints for Alberta entrepreneurs are: tax and regulatory costs (72 per cent), followed by wage costs (61 per cent) and fuel and energy costs (58 per cent).  Two-thirds (65 per cent) of Alberta businesses cite insufficient domestic demand as their main constraint to business growth and sales.“Drastic minimum wage hikes and other employment rule changes show this government is out of touch with the realities of running a small business.  As those policies spread across the country, small business confidence edges downward,” said Ruddy. 

Canada's small business optimism dropped by more than five points in June to the 60.9.  The other provincial numbers were: British Columbia (69.5), PEI (67.5), Manitoba (67.1), Quebec (65.8), New Brunswick (63.6), Nova Scotia (63.5), Ontario (58.0), Saskatchewan (51.8) and Newfoundland & Labrador (48.2). 

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. 

June 2017 findings are based on 726 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey.  Data reflect responses received through June 19.  Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.6 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.