Small business confidence in Alberta weakened ahead of holiday shopping season

by Morinville Online Staff

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business’ Business Barometer indicates Alberta small business confidence dropped by almost four points in the lead-up to the holiday season and further into 2023 hopes.

Currently, Alberta sits at 44.1 on the index and this is the third month the province has been below 50%. The 12-month outlook index (50.0) fell despite a small uptick in the previous month. CFIB says both indexes are at their lowest points in the year, reflecting the challenging economic conditions small businesses are facing.

“The situation remains sobering for many small businesses. High costs of doing business, a lack of staffing and ongoing interest rate hikes make it harder for them to know for sure where their business is headed,” said Simon Gaudreault, Chief Economist and Vice-President of Research at CFIB. “The short-term and 12-month outlooks for retail, in particular, have been quite low for the past several months, which is not what we expect to see in the lead-up to the holiday shopping season.”

CFIB notes business growth woes are largely due to shortages of skilled labour and domestic demand that remains insufficient. This is the case for  53 percent and 33 per cent of Alberta’s small businesses, respectively. Eighty-four per cent of Alberta businesses are feeling constrained due to fuel, energy costs, and 70 per cent cite insurance costs. Sixty-three per cent cite about costs.

“[Lasd] week the government announced some positive measures that will help businesses cope with their fuel, energy, and utility costs,” said Annie Dormuth, Alberta provincial affairs director. “Stopping the collection of provincial fuel costs and reaffirming the government’s commitment to the natural gas and utility rebates are positive cost-relief measures. In the Throne Speech next week small businesses are looking for the government to have measures that strengthen small businesses.”

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