More Alberta Entrepreneurs now Cutting Jobs than Hiring

Confidence continues to drop; concern about rising wage costs up 15 points since May

CALGARY, July 30, 2015 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) today released the latest Business Barometer numbers that show Alberta’s small business confidence continues to edge closer to historic lows after dropping a further half point in July to 43.9.

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.

“Alberta’s small business confidence remains, by far, the lowest in the country.  Perhaps most worrying, however, is the latest trend on wage costs and hiring that shows small business sentiment clearly moving in a negative direction,” said Richard Truscott, CFIB’s Vice-President for Alberta and BC.

For the first time since the last recession in 2009, hiring plans have reversed.  Nineteen per cent of Alberta’s business owners in July expected to cut full-time staff within the next three months, versus only 16 per cent who planned to add staff.  In addition, concern about wage costs jumped significantly, with 59 per cent of business owners identifying it as a major cost constraint, up 7 points compared to June and 15 points over May.

“Alberta’s entrepreneurs are feeling gloomier than they have in a long time.  The provincial government would be wise to pay heed to these latest numbers, especially in the context of drastic new policy directions like the proposed hike in minimum wage to 15 dollars”, concluded Truscott.

The national Business Barometer index dropped another 1.2 points in July to 58.2 points.  The other provincial numbers were: PEI (69.0), British Columbia (67.5), Nova Scotia (63.7), Newfoundland (63.2), New Brunswick (62.2), Ontario (60.7), Quebec (58.5), Manitoba (58.2), and Saskatchewan (54.5).

The July 2015 findings are based on 924 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members to a controlled-access web survey.  Data reflect responses received through July 22.  Findings are considered accurate +\- 3.2 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, including 10,000 in Alberta