Alberta small business confidence drops again in January, CFIB says

by Morinville News Staff

Alberta’s small business confidence dropped 1.3 points in January to an index of 37.0, according to the latest Business Barometer results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

Far behind the national average of 55.3 points, Alberta remains the province with the lowest business confidence in the country. The business organization considers an index score of 65 to 70 as indicative of a strong economy, both nationally and provincially.

“Alberta small business confidence declined slightly in January 2020 compared to the large drops in November and December 2019,” said CFIB’s Alberta Policy Analyst Keyli Kosiorek. “This slight decline signifies that Alberta’s small businesses may be a bit more hopeful about the province’s economic prospects heading into 2020, but confidence still remains quite low. Rising costs, such as property taxes, the federal carbon tax and the health of the oil and gas industry continue to weigh heavily on small businesses.”

Ted Mallett, CFIB’s vice-president and chief economist, says the rest of the country seems to be following Alberta’s lead. “Staffing plans for the next three months, in particular, remain weak, with more business owners planning to lay off staff than those planning to hire.”

Only nine per cent of Alberta’s small business owners expect to increase their full-time employment levels over the next three months, while 34 per cent anticipate a decrease.

National small business confidence dropped only 0.2 points to 55.3 in January. The provincial numbers for January were: PEI (65.3), Quebec (63.5), Ontario (59.9), Nova Scotia (59.5), New Brunswick (59.4), Manitoba (57.4), British Columbia (56.4), Newfoundland & Labrador (48.6), Saskatchewan (42.7) and Alberta (37.0).

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