Alberta Business Barometer®: Small Biz Gloomy About the Future


Hiring plans at standstill, rising wage costs top concern, as huge min wage hike looms

CALGARY – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released the latest Business Barometer index today that shows Alberta’s small business outlook dropped 1.4 points in June to 44.3.  That puts the Alberta index 15 points below CFIB’s national Business Barometer® Index of 59.4.

“Small business optimism is stuck in low gear and many entrepreneurs are clearly saying they are worried about the future for their business,” said Amber Ruddy, CFIB’s Senior Policy Analyst.

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 of between 65 and 75 is an indication the economy is growing at its potential.

The 17 per cent of  business owners in Alberta that plan to add full-time staff over the next few months matches those who expect to cut back.  The general state of business health remains subdued with only 36 per cent saying their firms are in good shape while 17 per cent report it is bad.

“The government has the opportunity to demonstrate they are listening carefully to small business.  More than half of entrepreneurs say wage costs are their major pinch point.  The premier can start by postponing a hike to the minimum wage”, remarked Ruddy.

Businesses in the resource sector continue to show the weakest levels of optimism in the country, with below-average confidence trending in the construction and manufacturing, in particular.  In contrast, the services sector posted a modest rebound in June.

June, 2015 findings are based on 821 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey.  Data reflect responses received through June 15.  Findings are considered accurate to +\- 3.4 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.