Shortage of labour remains biggest challenge; 53 per cent identify it as a constraint
CALGARY, September 25, 2014 – According to the latest Business Barometer survey results released by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), small business confidence jumped 2.1 points in September to 73.8, the highest level for the index in a year and a half.
“The level of confidence among Alberta’s entrepreneurs is up by 4.4 points since July, including another two points this month. That’s clearly a healthy jump and certainly good news for our provincial economy,” says Richard Truscott, Director of Provincial Affairs for CFIB.
There are a series of other positive signs in the September numbers compared to August. Entrepreneurs’ hiring intentions stayed virtually the same in September, with 34 per cent of respondents planning to add full-time staff, down just one point, while six per cent were expecting to cut back, unchanged from August.
In terms of their view about the general state of the economy, 51 per cent of entrepreneurs characterized it as “good” in September, down six points after reaching a post-recession high in August. Only five per cent described it as “bad”, same as last month. Despite the drop, Alberta’s business owners maintain one of the most positive outlooks in the country on the general business environment.
Labour shortages remain the biggest challenge for small business in Alberta. Fifty-three per cent of entrepreneurs surveyed in Alberta said the shortage of skilled labour was limiting their sales or production growth.
“Alberta’s economy appears to be running at full tilt, but the shortage of qualified labour continues to hamstring the growth and success of smaller firms”, states Truscott.
The national Business Barometer Index stayed virtually unchanged in September (65.6) compared to August (65.5). Across Canada, entrepreneurs in Newfoundland (74.2) were again the most optimistic about the economy and the future prospects for their business, followed by Alberta (73.8), British Columbia (70.9), Saskatchewan (68.2), Manitoba (65.8), Ontario (65.2), Nova Scotia (63.5) Quebec (60.5), New Brunswick (59.2), and PEI (53.8).
More details about the Business Barometer are available at www.cfib.ca. To arrange an interview with Chief Economist, Ted Mallett, about the national results, please call 1-416-222-8022. To speak with Alberta Director, Richard Truscott, please call 1-866-444-9290.
About the Business Barometer: 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. The September 2014 findings are based on 1,022 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.1 per cent 19 times in 20.
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.