Gateway Gazette

Alberta small business confidence rebounds in August

Hiring plans remain very strong; shortage of labour remains biggest challenge by far

CALGARY, August 28, 2014 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released the latest Business Barometer survey results today showing Alberta’s small business confidence rebounded 2.3 points in August to 71.7. The national Business Barometer Index also bounced back by the same amount to 65.5.

“After July’s three point decline, its encouraging to see the Alberta index break back through that 70 point threshold. This sets things up nicely for a busy final quarter this fall,” says Richard Truscott, Director of Provincial Affairs for CFIB.

Short-term hiring intentions also stayed very strong in August, with 35 per cent saying they planned to increase the number of full-time employees over the next three months, the same level as July. By comparison, only six per cent expected to cut back full-time staff, also the same as last month.

There were other positive signs in the latest numbers. According to the August survey results, 57 per cent of Alberta’s entrepreneurs said the general state of business health was “good”, up another two points from last month. Only five per cent described it as “bad”, down one point compared to July.

“In terms of the overall state of business in our province, August registered the best post-recession reading to date. Obviously, that’s good sign for Alberta’s economy”, states Truscott.

Labour shortages continue to be the most serious constraint on small business. Fifty-four per cent of entrepreneurs surveyed in Alberta said the shortage of skilled labour was limiting their sales or production growth, 20 points higher than any other business constraint.

Looking across the country, entrepreneurs in Newfoundland (72.7) were the most confident about the economy and the future prospects for their business, followed by Alberta (71.7), British Columbia (70.2), Saskatchewan (65.0), Ontario (64.7), Manitoba (63.0), New Brunswick (62.6), Quebec (60.4), Nova Scotia (60.3) and PEI (56.5).

More details about the Business Barometer are available at www.cfib.ca.

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 August 2014 findings are based on 957 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.

CFIB Feature Image logoAbout 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, giving independent business a strong and influential voice at all levels of government and helping to grow the economy.

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