Gateway Gazette

AB small business confidence plunges to record low

 

Lowest registered confidence of any province in past 15 years

Calgary – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) today released the latest Business Barometer numbers showing Alberta’s small business confidence plummeted to 34.0, more than a six point decline from last month.  This marks the lowest confidence level ever registered since CFIB started keeping track of business confidence levels 15 years ago.  The former record low of 35.9 was set by Ontario in December 2008.

“This all-time low speaks to the dire situation small businesses are currently experiencing and there doesn’t appear to be any positive news for job creators in the foreseeable future,” said CFIB’s Alberta Director Amber Ruddy.

Alberta’s business confidence has been in decline for 11 consecutive months.

“Entrepreneurs are in uncharted territory and this government must not use the excuse that they are new to delay announcing their overall vision for entrepreneurship.  Having been in office for almost five months, elected officials can no longer ignore the growing concerns of independent business owners.  Minimum wage hikes, corporate tax increases, and the prospect of changes to employment standards are making a bad situation worse,” said Ruddy.

The resources sector continues to show the weakest levels of optimism, but below-par sentiment is also significant in the construction, wholesale trade and hospitality sectors.

Employment plans are weak and rivals what was experienced in the last recession.  Twenty-six per cent of owners in September said they are expecting to cut full-time staff, while only 13 per cent intend to hire additional full-time staff in the next few months.  Plans to cut back on staff are up six points and plans to hire are down two points compared to August.

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.  One normally sees an index level of between 65 and 70 when the economy is growing at its potential.

Optimism fell to 62.9 in British Columbia. Saskatchewan dipped to 59.9.  Manitoba held steady at 54.0.  Ontario dropped in September to 59.9, while Quebec saw a small bump to 59.5.  Newfoundland and Labrador’s business confidence jumped to 61.5.  Nova Scotia fell to 63.7, but takes over as having the highest confidence in the country.  New Brunswick’s confidence remained unchanged at 61.4.  Prince Edward Island saw a significant fall to 60.0.

The September 2015 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 September 14. Findings are considered accurate to +\- 3.6 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.

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