indicatorThe Owl

Business confidence climbed slightly in March

But was still below where it was a year ago

By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 31 March 2023 1 min read

Business optimism in Alberta has edged up for the second month in a row to sit just below the national average.

Based on a survey of its members, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) produces an index of small business confidence called the Business Barometer®. The barometer’s long-term index* is based on how businesses expect to be performing in 12 months.

The long-term index in Alberta went from 52.6 in February to 53.6 in March. 

The national index in March was a little higher at 55.3 and was 3.5 points stronger than the month before when it was 51.8.

The index was highest in Prince Edward Island (62.5) and Manitoba (60.3) and lowest in New Brunswick (47.7) and Quebec (48.2).

The index improved in every province except Saskatchewan, where it dropped from 61.5 in February to 58.9 in March.

The index was lower than twelve months earlier in both Alberta and in the country as a whole. Alberta’s index was 62.1 in March 2022 while Canada’s was 65.2.

A shortage of skilled labour continued to top the list of factors limiting sales or production growth with 45% of small businesses in Alberta citing this as a concern.

*Measured on a scale between 0 and 100, an index above 50 means owners expecting their business’s performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. 

Answer to the previous trivia question: A fiscal year is a twelve-month period chosen by a business, organization, or government to report its financial information. Fiscal years often, but don’t always, run from April 1 to March 31.

Today’s trivia question: What popular type of pasta did the BBC claim grew on trees as an April Fools’ Day hoax in 1957?

Small business confidence in Alberta is lower than it was last spring

Small business confidence in Alberta is lower than it was last spring

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