Gateway Gazette

AB Small Business Confidence Trails Nation Again in March

Entrepreneurs have no appetite for tax hikes in Alberta Budget 2015

CALGARY, March 26, 2015 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released the latest Business Barometer survey results that show Alberta’s small business outlook halted its downward slide in March and remains relatively unchanged at 48.1.  For the second consecutive month, Alberta maintains its nation trailing position and is more than 25 points below its October 2014 peak.

Hiring expectations are subdued.  Only 20 per cent of business owners surveyed in March said they planned to add full-time staff over the next three months versus 13 per cent who plan to cut back.  Hiring plans are at the weakest level experienced since 2010.

“Clearly, Alberta entrepreneurs are cautious about the future and it is no surprise that employment hiring plans are sub-par.  The worst thing the provincial government could do is hike taxes and further erode business confidence,” remarked Amber Ruddy, Senior Policy Analyst for CFIB.

CFIB recently presented its pre-budget submission to Finance Minister Campbell.

CFIB’s small business priorities for Alberta’s 2015 Budget include:

  • Avoid raising taxes to fund revenue shortfall
  • Continue to control spending by holding operational spending increases to a maximum of inflation and population growth over the long term
  • Commit to further reduce the red tape burden

“Entrepreneurs will be watching the budget with bated breath to see if the government is sending the right signals.  Strengthening the business climate is the best way forward,” concluded Ruddy

Nationally, the index rose about a point and a half this month to 61.5.  There was a modest uptick in expectations in the largest three provinces, British Columbia (70.4), Ontario (65.5), and Quebec (59.4) which helped propel the national average upward.  PEI, settled at a healthy 69.4.  Newfoundland and Labrador was unchanged at a lacklustre 56.7.  Nova Scotia dropped to 65.2, while New Brunswick landed at 61.8.  The story from the prairies was less optimistic than the national picture, yet confidence held constant in Manitoba (54.6), Alberta (48.1), and Saskatchewan (52.7).

 

About the Business Barometer: 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 March 2015 findings are based on 929 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.2 per cent 19 times in 20. More details about the Business Barometer are available at www.cfib.ca.

About CFIB: As Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses, CFIB is Powered by Entrepreneurs™. Established in 1971, CFIB takes direction from more than 109,000 members in every sector nationwide, including 10,000 in Alberta, giving independent business a strong and influential voice at all levels of government and helping to grow the economy.

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