Optimism in energy and construction dropped considerably, but the retail sector posted the biggest fall. Business confidence in retail slid by nearly 15 points to 64.4. Access to labour and changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) imposed in June are likely to blame.
The TFWP was initially set up to help satisfy short term labour needs. This summer’s amendments have made it trickier and more costly for businesses to access temporary labour. Interestingly, 72 per cent of the respondents to ATB’s Business Beat Survey noted that the TFWP is necessary to combat the labour shortage here in Alberta.
Plenty of public discourse has surfaced recently around the idea of such a shortage. Many economic indicators reveal that it may not exist in Alberta. However, ATB’s survey suggests Alberta’s businesses are in need of all labour types. Respondents agreed by 64 per cent that it is difficult to find Albertans to hire into unskilled positions, while 58 per cent agreed it is difficult to hire Albertans into skilled roles.