Alberta small business confidence remained flat in September with the latest Business Barometer index by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business virtually unchanged from the month before.
The CFIB said the index decreased by a marginal 0.2 points to 54.1 points, which puts the provincial index just behind the national indicator (59.3 points). The province’s confidence level is now fourth lowest in the country.
“It appears some of the hopeful optimism we saw building earlier this year has begun to level out,” said Keyli Kosiorek, a policy analyst for the CFIB, in a statement. “Alberta’s entrepreneurs are still feeling the effects of a soft economy and continued economic instability. Business owners are hoping to see more policy moves in the upcoming provincial budget that will stimulate economic growth and job creation.”
The organization said Alberta is still well below the 65-to-75 point range (on a 100-point scale) that indicates the economy is healthy and growing at its potential.
The report said the intentions of entrepreneurs in the province to hire over the next three months are also looking fairly weak. Nine per cent of business owners said they plan to increase their full-time employment (down one point from August), compared to 18 per cent who anticipate a decrease (down four points from August). About one-third (30 per cent) of respondents report the health of their business to be in poor, while 14 per cent report their firms are in good health, added the CFIB.
The provincial numbers for September were: Quebec (68.8), Nova Scotia (68.5), New Brunswick (63.7), Prince Edward Island (62.9), Manitoba (62.6), Ontario (60.5), Alberta (54.1), Saskatchewan (53.1), British Columbia (53.1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (52.6).
Mario Toneguzzi is a Troy Media business reporter based in Calgary.