Alberta biz owners fear more layoffs: poll

By Staff | April 18, 2016 | Last updated on April 18, 2016
2 min read

Labour and workforce issues are still troubling small and mid-sized enterprise owners in Alberta. But, compared to a year ago, the reasons they’re worrying have changed, says the latest edition of the ATB Business Beat survey.

In 2015, business owners were concerned about finding and retaining skilled employees. But now, some non-energy companies are nervous about keeping staff members employed and busy, pending layoffs and payroll demands.

The ATB Economy Index, which measures confidence in the province’s economy, is at an all-time low. The index currently sits at 19.2, down from 23.1 in January. The ATB Business Index, meanwhile, rebounded slightly to 44.6, up from 40.9 in the previous survey (the Business Index measures small and mid-sized business owners’ confidence in their own operations).

Surprisingly, enterprises in the energy sector are the most optimistic, with an Economy Index reading of 21.6. Meanwhile, businesses in the retail sector are the least optimistic, with a reading of 16.4.

Read: Lower U.S. oil supply means rising prices

When it comes to confidence in their own operations, businesses in the construction sector are the most optimistic, with a Business Index result of 52. Once again, retail SMEs are the least optimistic in their own operations, with a reading of 32.

“The economic downturn has had a major impact on small and mid-sized businesses in Alberta, especially when it comes to keeping staff on,” says Wellington Holbrook, ATB’s executive vice-president of Business and Agriculture.

Click here to view the full report.


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