Early optimism among small businesses appears to be slipping, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business’s monthly Business Barometer.
The small business confidence index dropped 2.9 points in August, the second month it has slipped after five months of increases.
Alberta’s index now sits at 54.3 points, second lowest in the country, and well below the national average of 60.6. Only Newfoundland and Labrador had a lower index.
“It appears some of that hopeful optimism we saw building earlier this year has begun to wear off, and it now looks as if sentiment is sliding backwards,” says Keyli Kosiorek, the federation’s Alberta policy analyst.
“Alberta’s entrepreneurs are feeling the effects of a soft economy and continued economic instability.
“The provincial government must continue to focus on policies that support economic growth, job creation, and small business if it wants to see further increases in confidence levels.”
Alberta’s index is well below the 65 to 75 point range (on a 100-point scale) that indicates the economy is healthy and growing at its potential.
Entrepreneurs’ intentions to hire over the next three months have also slightly worsened.
Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce executive director Rick More is not expecting to see a big change in business confidence levels in coming months.
“Although some of the recent provincial policies that favour business in central Alberta have created some optimism, I believe you will see us levelling off until the federal election results in October,” said More.
“Following that, we need to consider the direction the provincial budget will take us. Talks of global economic slowdown certainly add to Central Alberta’s concerns also.”