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Calgary business optimism up so far in 2024: Report


A new report suggests Calgary’s business expectations are on the up and up thanks to provincial growth and fewer closures in the city.

The Q1 Canadian Survey on Business Conditions, released on Friday, was conducted by Statistics Canada in collaboration with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

It shows Calgary is among the top five cities in the country for business optimism: much higher than the national average.

The data suggests more than 77 per cent of Calgary businesses across all sectors are feeling good about their future over the next 12 months.

That’s despite some cost-related concerns: interest rate worries for larger businesses and inflation worries for smaller ones.

The 77.3 per cent mark is a significant increase from the 62.5 per cent recorded in the first quarter of 2023.

"To look at that number was just fantastic," Calgary Chamber of Commerce president Deborah Yedlin said.

"We have been through such challenging times. I’ve often said we started on our — from an economic standpoint — road to recovery when the energy prices crashed in 2014. So this has been almost a decade that Calgary has really been working its way back to the place where it is today."

The report chalks all the growth up to a combination of increased access to capital, a growing consumer base and reduced business closures. In fact, more than three quarters of local businesses say they have sufficient cash on hand to operate effectively, according to the report.

A recent net positive migration of over 200,000 people to the province is only growing Alberta’s consumer base and helping alleviate concerns about cost-related obstacles.

That has Yedlin feeling good about the future, too.

"I see this continuing, because there are a lot of positive things to focus on," she told CTV News.

"This is a city that’s transforming itself, and it’s being seen as a magnet for talent, investment and opportunity."

However, there are still some nagging worries.

ATB chief financial economist Mark Parsons points out that labour-related challenges remain a concern for many businesses, especially in construction and hospitality.

"But The Bank of Canada is going to start lowering its policy rates," he said. "It’s just a matter of time, we think it’s about mid year, and that will boost sentiment right across the country." Top Stories

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