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Alberta businesses more optimistic about provincial economy

Alberta businesses more optimistic about provincial economy

Posted on: 3/20/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

​​The Owl recently reported that only eight per cent of Albertans gave the provincial economy a rating of “good” or “very good” as of January 2018. This is not surprising given the lingering effects of the two years of economic contraction that took place in 2015 and 2016.

Another way of looking at the health of our economy is to ask where Albertans think it’s headed rather than how it’s doing at the moment. ATB’s Business Beat survey asked small and medium-sized Alberta businesses in January and February how they felt the economy would be doing in six months and found that 52 per cent said they thought it would be “better off,” 29 per cent said it would be “the same” and 19 per cent said it would be “worse off.”

If we filter out those who feel the economy will be “the same” in six months, we can create an index that tracks how optimistic small and medium-sized businesses are about the direction of the economy. When we do this, we find that the level of optimism plummeted during the recession but has since climbed back to roughly where it was before the economic downturn (see the chart below).

The rising level of optimism doesn’t mean that small and medium-sized businesses think our economy is as strong as it was before the recession but it does show that more and more think things are improving. This is a good sign and suggests that Alberta businesses are getting the confidence back that they will need to keep our economy prosperous over the long-term.

The full version of this ATB Business Beat survey will be out in mid-April. ​​Subscribe to receive upcoming editions.

Business Beat Survey, graph​ ​ ​​

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