Alberta small business confidence rebounds

CALGARY – Alberta small business confidence rebounded in August with provincial entrepreneurs indicating they intend to hire in the short-term but the shortage of labour by far remains their biggest challenge.

The latest Business Barometer survey, by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said Alberta’s small business confidence rebounded by 2.3 points in August to 71.7 while the national index also bounced back by the same amount to 65.5.

“After July’s three point decline, it’s encouraging to see the Alberta index break back through that 70 point threshold. This sets things up nicely for a busy final quarter this fall,� said Richard Truscott, the CFIB’s Alberta director, in a statement.

Entrepreneurs in Newfoundland (72.7) were the most confident about the economy and the future prospects for their business, followed by Alberta (71.7), British Columbia (70.2), Saskatchewan (65.0), Ontario (64.7), Manitoba (63.0), New Brunswick (62.6), Quebec (60.4), Nova Scotia (60.3) and Prince Edward Island (56.5).

In July, Alberta was third behind B.C. and Newfoundland.

The latest report said 35 per cent of Alberta entrepreneurs planned to increase the number of full-time employees over the next three months, the same level as July. Only six per cent expected to cut back full-time staff, also the same as last month.

Also, 57 per cent said the general state of business health was “good�, up two points from last month and five per cent described it as “bad�, down one point from July.

“In terms of the overall state of business in our province, August registered the best post-recession reading to date. Obviously, that’s a good sign for Alberta’s economy,� said Truscott.

The survey found that 54 per cent of entrepreneurs said the shortage of skilled labour was limiting their sales or production growth, 20 points higher than any other business constraint.

The Business Barometer is measured on a scale of 0 and 100 and an index level above 50 means owners expecting their businesses’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. According to past results, index levels normally range between 65 and 75 when the economy is growing at its potential.

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