Calgary— This quarter’s ATB Business Beat shows a significant uptick in the ATB Economic Index, as more Alberta small and mid-sized business owners believe the economy will be the better off six months from now than last quarter. Overall, however, the index still remains below the line.
“We see this as a positive sign,” says Wellington Holbrook, Executive Vice-President, Business & Agriculture. “It means more Alberta business owners believe that six months from now, the worst will be behind us.”
The ATB Business Index shows that more Alberta business owners are feeling positive about their own business six months from now than those who are feeling pessimistic. However, the ATB Business Index dropped again for the fifth quarter in a row.
“The ripple effect is starting to happen,” says Holbrook. “Business owners outside of the energy industry are feeling the impact as discretionary spending is reduced, projects are cancelled or put on hold, and the effects of the slowdown expands its reach.”
And, business owners are taking action. Almost three out of four (73 per cent) of small and mid-sized business owners in Alberta have made changes to their businesses to offset impacts from the economic slowdown. Some of the changes include:
- 60 per cent have, or plan to, change business processes to increase efficiency or productivity
- 54 per cent have, or plan to, cut discretionary spending
- 42 per cent have, or plan to, invest in training or development
- 34 per cent have, or plan to, reduced pricing in response to external pressures from suppliers
- 23 per cent have, or plan to, conduct layoffs; in the energy industry specifically, 38 per cent of have already laid off staff
“Taking action means business owners are finding ways to manage through,” adds Holbrook. “There are always opportunities to find efficiencies, restructure debt or negotiate with your employees or suppliers to do things differently.”
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