“Confidence Gap” Apparent In Alberta Economy: ATB Index

Calgary — Confidence in the Alberta economy among small and mid-sized business owners (SMEs) in the province has taken a big hit. But there is only a dent in the confidence among Alberta SMEs when it comes to their own businesses’ futures.

The ATB Financial Business Beat Economy Index fell to a record low of 22.7 for the first three months of 2015, down from 44.5 for the final three months of 2014. The ATB Economy Index has dropped nearly 46 points in the last six months. A score below 50 suggests more Alberta SMEs feel the province’s economy will be worse off six months from now than those who feel it will improve. ATB began tracking the Economy Index in 2013.

“But when you ask business owners about the businesses they know best—their own—they haven’t bought into the negative feeling out there,” says Wellington Holbrook, ATB’s Executive Vice-President, Business & Agriculture.

“You could call it a confidence gap.”

The ATB Business Index, which measures Alberta SMEs’ optimism in their own businesses, came in at 58.3. The score indicates more Alberta SMEs feel their businesses will be better off six months from now than those who feel they will be worse off. The ATB Business Index was 67.5 three months ago.

“I like the level of optimism out there. That resiliency is what makes Alberta business owners unique,” adds Holbrook.

“But to help them steer through this latest economic storm, we recommend a business-as-usual-with-a- healthy-dose-of-caution approach. It’s definitely a good time for small and mid-sized business owners to chat with their bankers for some expert advice and take proactive actions to manage through.”

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