Business confidence in Alberta slipped slightly during the past month, according to a recent survey by a national business association.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business reported on Thursday that the level of optimism in this province hit 70.7 on a 100-point scale in April.
That was down two points from March, and in sharp contrast to a 5.6-point confidence gain during the previous two months.
“The strong confidence we saw in Alberta to start the year has unfortunately begun to fade a bit,” said Richard Truscott, director of provincial affairs for the CFIB. “Thankfully, Alberta’s numbers are still relatively positive and better than most other provinces. But a bit more pessimism is starting to creep in.”
After leading the country in March, Alberta’s business confidence rating now trails Saskatchewan at 73.0 and British Columbia at 71.9. Newfoundland’s score was 68.5, followed by Ontario at 67.7, Manitoba at 63.6, Quebec at 58.3, New Brunswick at 57.6, Nova Scotia at 56.9 and Prince Edward Island at 56.1.
The national index was 65.7, up 1.6 points from March.
Of the Alberta business owners surveyed, 36 per cent said they planned to hire full-time employees in the next three months, up two points from March. Six per cent expected their workforce to shrink.
Meanwhile, 44 per cent of respondents described the general health of their business as good in April, down eight points from March. Nine per cent described it as bad, up two points.
The CFIB said a business confidence index score between 65 and 75 historically has meant that an economy is growing near or at its potential.
The CFIB represents more than 109,000 small and medium-sized businesses in Canada.