AB Small Business Confidence makes Slight Recovery from Historic Low


October marks the end of yearlong declining optimism

Amber RuddyCalgary – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released the latest Business Barometer numbers showing Alberta’s small business confidence rose to 36.1, a two point bump from last month. This is the first time since October 2014 the Alberta numbers reversed the downward trend.  Small business confidence is down about 38 points from this time last year.

“While it is encouraging to see business confidence end the freefell experienced in the last twelve months, the reality is that small businesses are still struggling,” said CFIB’s Alberta Director Amber Ruddy.

Small business issues came up in the Alberta provincial budget tabled earlier this week.

“It is good to see the government recognizing the importance of having prosperous small businesses in the budget speech.  The devil is in the details on whether the Job Creation Incentive will be accessible and helpful to businesses facing a multitude of other pressures,” said Ruddy.

Short term hiring plans remained negative with 26 per of owners expecting to cut back and only 14 per cent intending to hire- virtually unchanged from September.  The resources sector remains the least optimistic (31.4) by a significant margin.

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

Canada’s small business confidence picked up almost three points in October, rising to 58.9.  Optimism rose to 65.7 in British Columbia.  Saskatchewan dipped to 58.3.  Manitoba jumped more than six points to 60.6.  Ontario moves to 62.5, while Quebec slipped to 57.1.  Newfoundland and Labrador’s business confidence climbed to 65.0.  Nova Scotia rose to 68.0 and remains the highest confidence in the country.  New Brunswick’s confidence sat at 59.0.  Prince Edward Island is above the national average at 59.4.

The October 2015 findings are based on 777 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey.  Data reflect responses received through October 19.  Findings are considered accurate to +\- 3.5 per cent 19 times in 20.

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.