Survey shows Alberta businesses and consumers are seeing and expecting more improvements in economic conditions



    Business confidence Index crosses the 100 mark first time since May 2008

    TORONTO, June 10 /CNW/ - For the first time since May 2008, the Alberta
Business Confidence Index from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) conducted by Leger
Marketing has crossed the 100 mark. The overall Business Confidence Index is
101, up from 91 in March 2009 suggesting that business leaders are slowly
becoming optimistic about the economic conditions.
    Two measures that continue to increase since January 2009 are the future
business conditions measure (from 144 in January 2009 to 173 in March 2009 to
186 in May 2009), and the future unemployment measure (from 25 in January 2009
to 52 in March 2009 and to 91 in May 2009).
    "These figures are promising and indicate that many Alberta businesses
anticipate that while the economy is struggling today, there are signs of
expected improvement by the fall and into next year," says Ian Gunn, Partner
and Leader of PwC's Private Company Services Practice in Calgary.
    "According to the Index, future interest rates are expected to start to
climb," says Barry James, Managing Partner for PwC in Edmonton. "The Index is
down 48 points since January 2009 (134 in January 2009, 94 in March 2009, 86
in May 2009). This is indicative of the fact that with the economy looking
promising, low interest rates are not likely to continue being offered."
    Meanwhile, Consumer Confidence also continues to rise since January 2009
(103 in Jan 2009, 110 in March 2009 and 116 in May 2009), reflecting an
increased belief that the housing and retail markets are favouring the
consumer. Consumer optimism was highest in terms of buying a house and
purchasing major household items. Buying major household items saw a 33-point
gain from 99 in November 2008 to 132 in May 2009. Buying a house surged
50-points from 107 in November 2008 to 157 in May 2009. The future household
income index increased 6 points.
    Further supporting the optimism is the expectation of improved job
prospects. Although still somewhat pessimistic with a score of 81 on scale of
100, the future unemployment rate is up sharply from the last survey (57 in
March 29).
    "Consumers are feeling more positive on all fronts, from getting a job to
buying a house and major household items to increasing household incomes,"
notes Gunn.
    For more information, please visit www.pwc.com/ca/doingbusinessinalberta

    About PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

    PricewaterhouseCoopers (www.pwc.com) provides industry-focused assurance,
tax and advisory services to build public trust and enhance value for its
clients and their stakeholders. More than 155,000 people in 153 countries
across our network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop
fresh perspectives and practical advice. In Canada, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
(www.pwc.com/ca) and its related entities have more than 5,200 partners and
staff in offices across the country.
    "PricewaterhouseCoopers" refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an Ontario
limited liability partnership, or, as the context requires, the
PricewaterhouseCoopers global network or other member firms of the network,
each of which is a separate and independent legal entity.





For further information:

For further information: Carolyn Forest, (416) 814-5730,
carolyn.forest@ca.pwc.com; Nina Godard, (416) 941-8383, x13520,
nina.godard@ca.pwc.com

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