indicatorThe Owl

Waiting game: business conditions in Alberta

Only 7.0 per cent of Alberta employers expect to add staff over the next three months while 9.5 per cent expect they will have to make more cuts.

By ATB Economics 16 November 2020 1 min read

Conducted between mid-September and late October, Statistics Canada’s Canadian Survey on Business Conditions shows that over a third (36.7 per cent) of businesses and organizations in Alberta have had to lay off at least one staff member due to COVID-19. The proportion rises to 72.3  per cent for businesses in the accommodation and food services sector.

Only 7.0 per cent of Alberta employers expect to add staff over the next three months while 9.5 per cent expect they will have to make more cuts. (About 8.3 per cent didn’t know and 75.1 per cent said things would stay the same.)

Businesses in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector were the most likely to expect more staff layoffs with a quarter (25.2 per cent) in this position at the time of the survey.

Having already cut stuff to the bone during the spring lockdown, about 15.2 per cent of accommodation and food service businesses expect their overall number of employees to increase over the next three months versus just 3.8 per cent that foresee a decrease. However, with COVID cases rising and additional public health restrictions looming, these expectations may have changed.

When asked how much longer the business or organization could continue to operate at its current level of revenue and expenditures before having to consider further staffing actions, closure, or bankruptcy, 40.6 per cent said they could keep going for a year or more while 27.9 per cent said they didn’t know.

About a quarter (23.5 per cent) said they could operate at current levels of revenue and expenditure for between 3 months and a year before they’d be in trouble while 8.0 per cent said something would have to give if things didn’t improve within 3 months or less.

These findings point to a resilient, but nonetheless fragile set of employers in Alberta. For many, it’s a waiting game to see who lasts longer—them or the pandemic.

A large proportion of Alberta businesses are not financially prepared for a second wave

A large proportion of Alberta businesses are not financially prepared for a second wave


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