Calgary's business leaders' confidence decreases after optimistic first half of the year

Businesses and consumers have lower confidence in economy

CALGARY, Aug. 15, 2014 /CNW/ - According to the latest PwC Business and Consumer Confidence Index, Calgary's business confidence in the economy has decreased after being steady for the first half of the year. The decrease in business confidence appeared across all indices, predominantly in the fiscal conditions and unemployment indices.

The Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program
The majority (77%) of business leaders think that the federal government's recent changes to the TFW program will make it more difficult to get labour to meet Alberta's needs. Close to half (47%) of Albertan consumers think that the federal government's recent changes to the TFW program will make it more difficult to get labour to meet Alberta's needs.

"With new legislation in place for the Temporary Foreign Worker program, there is potential to employ more Canadians, but in turn, it runs the risk of creating a loss in the labour that we need," says Ian Gunn, Senior Partner, Private Company Services, PwC.

Business confidence
After a steady increase in confidence for the first half of 2014, confidence in the economy has decreased 3.5% since May 2014. Confidence in future interest rates (3.8% decrease), future business conditions (1.5% decrease) and current business conditions (0.7% decrease) have all declined as well. The biggest declines are the business community's confidence in future unemployment (4.7% decrease) and fiscal conditions (6.6% decrease).

Consumer confidence
As with their business counterparts, consumer confidence also decreased in July 2014, after being steady for the first half of the year. The only exception was the buying major household items index, which saw a slight increase of 0.9% since May 2014.

Insurance premiums
In the wake of insurance premium increases, 53% of Albertans plan to continue with their current insurance providers.  This outcome was established as all insurance companies premiums have increased similarly as a direct result of the 2013 flood.  On the other hand, two-in-five (40%) will either actively search for a better deal or keep an eye on the market for a new deal.

About the bimonthly PwC Business and Consumer Confidence Index
The Index determines the level of confidence business leaders and the public have in the economy, now and for the future. It does this by tracking several indices. The indices we look at are:

  • future interest rate
  • future business conditions
  • future unemployment
  • current business conditions
  • fiscal conditions

About PwC's Private Company Services (PCS)
More than 65% of our clients are private businesses, ranging from high net worth individuals to owner-managed family businesses and large, professionally-managed businesses. We understand private businesses and are committed to helping owners and CEOs achieve their long-term personal and business goals. For more information on PwC Alberta and our Private Company Business practice, please visit www.pwc.com/ca/DoingBusinessinAlberta.

About PwC Canada
PwC Canada helps organizations and individuals create the value they're looking for. More than 5,700 partners and staff in offices across the country are committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax, consulting and deals services. PwC Canada is a member of the PwC network of firms with more than 184,000 people in 157 countries. Find out more by visiting us at www.pwc.com/ca.

© 2014 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership. All rights reserved.

PwC refers to the Canadian member firm, and may sometimes refer to the PwC network. Each member firm is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure for further details.

SOURCE: PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers)

For further information: Nithya Ramachandran, T: +1 403 509 7555 ext. 3025, Email: nithya.ramachandran@ca.pwc.com

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