More than four in 10 Alberta businesses expect their profitability to decline over the next quarter, according to Statistics Canada.
Among businesses surveyed, 29 per cent expected sales to fall, says Statistics Canada’s Survey on Business Conditions.
There was some optimism, but it was much less prevalent with just nine per cent of businesses expecting their profitability to improve and 13 per cent expecting an uptick in sales, says ATB in its The Owl market report.
The survey was conducted as the third wave of the virus was rolling over the province and (mostly) after stricter public health measures were announced on April 6.
About eight in 10 businesses anticipated no change in their number of staff with nine per cent expecting an increase and 11 per cent a decrease.
Uncertainty around staffing was highest in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector and the accommodation and food services sector. Just under a quarter of businesses in these sectors expected to add employees while between 15 and 17 per cent expected to let people go.
At their current level of revenue and expenditure, about five per cent of Alberta businesses said they would have to consider closure or bankruptcy within six months or less and 14 per cent said they would have to think about laying off staff.
Looking ahead over the next 12 months, optimism outweighs pessimism with 17 per cent of businesses saying they are very optimistic, 51 per cent somewhat optimistic and 15 per cent not optimistic (and 17 per cent said they didn’t know).
The most recent survey was conducted from April 1 to May 6, and respondents were asked what their expectations would be over the next three-month period. As a result, those three months could cover as late as Aug. 6, depending on when the business responded.