Business confidence in Alberta has been flat since January, according to ATB Financial.
ATB Financial says a recent survey of Canadian Federation of Independent Business members shows optimism for the next year is low. The survey produces an index of small business called the Business Barometer, which is based on how businesses expect to be performing in 12 months.
As of March 2021, the barometer reading for Alberta was 59.9, down slightly from 60.1 in February and 60.0 in January. The index got as low as 26.2 in March 2020. According to the CFIB, the barometer typically reads between 65 and 75 when the economy is growing at its potential.
Optimism in Alberta was lower over the short-term. When asked whether things will be better or worse in three months, the barometer reading was 41.2 in March. The short-term barometer reading for Canada in March was 52.2.
Confidence was higher nationally with the 12-month index at 68.2, up from 62.5 in February. The national index bottomed out in March 2020 at 30.8.
When asked about the current state of their business, only 21 per cent of owners in Alberta said “good” in March, whereas 37 per cent said “bad.”
Nationally, the percentage of owners who described the general state of their business as good was 28 per cent. The same percentage said bad.