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Atlantic Organizations Remain Optimistic, But Not About the Economy

Despite facing significant challenges, organizations anticipate some growth and improved prospects compared to last year, but their confidence in local, national and global economies declined.

Windsor, NS (February 23, 2023) – The second annual Atlantic Insights (2022-2023) report reveals that, even in the face of several challenges, the collective sentiment of Atlantic organizations tends to be generally optimistic about their own growth and prospects in the coming year. Not surprisingly, challenges with labour recruitment and retention and the rising cost of doing business continue to cause great concern and increase organizational risk. 

“While the majority of organizations in our survey feel they are in acceptable or better shape, four in ten lack confidence in our region’s and Canada’s economies and 63 per cent are pessimistic about the global economy,” says Sheri Somerville, CEO at the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce. “We know business owners in Atlantic Canada are among the most resilient, and consider themselves progressive, builders, change makers, and risk takers. But it will take more than grit and determination to power them through the tough years ahead. We’re looking to government to help pave a better road for businesses so they can realize the opportunities and growth they’re optimistic about.”

“What we’re seeing year over year is a notable but not dramatic change in attitudes regarding business outlook, conditions and the economic landscape, and recruitment challenges seem to be starting to impact profitability,” says Peter MacIntosh, Chief Research Officer & Partner at Narrative Research. “Views on business prospects are up nine points over last year, but several factors have worsened, including cost of labour, availability of qualified and skilled workers, the cost of doing business, taxes and business regulation, and the cost of technology. These factors in aggregate create greater uncertainty for business.” 

Conducted using the Atlantic Impressions online business intelligence community 118 leaders from private, public and non-profit sectors responded to the Atlantic Insights survey. The Atlantic Insights research helps ACC gather key business perspectives on the experience of organizations of all sizes and sectors in Atlantic Canada—informing the network’s advocacy focus for the year.

Highlights from the 2022-2023 Atlantic Insights Report:

·     61 per cent say their organization is in good or very good shape, while one-third say they are in acceptable shape. 

·     Nearly eight in ten organizations describe their prospects in the next three to five years as good or very good (an increase of nine percentage points over last year). 

·     Most have a goal to grow at least a bit or significantly (83 per cent), while one in seven want to stay about the same size. 

·     Cost of doing business (72 per cent), availability of qualified workers (60 per cent), access to skilled labour (60 per cent) are chief among the business conditions that have worsened over the past year.

·     One-third note property taxes, provincial business regulations and federal taxation have worsened this year. 

·     Confidence in the economy is down regionally (40 per cent), nationally (43 per cent) and globally (63 per cent) compared to a year ago.

·     Recruitment is still a challenge (72 per cent) and continues to impact organizational profitability, with only six per cent reporting no impact to profitability. 

·     Skills and willingness to do the job (53 per cent each) are the biggest limitations on availability of workers followed by housing affordability, attracting people to the business location, availability of income replacement, and ease of commute.

·     Employers are working more (63 per cent) and paying more (48 per cent), as well as changing growth plans, and reducing output to cope with current worker shortages; and dealing with recruitment challenges by offering higher wages, increased benefits, and flex/remote work arrangements.

·     While four in ten feel the federal and their local government is generally supportive, more than half of respondents believe the provincial government has the biggest impact on their organization and are most notably looking for more support from the province for: small business/SMEs (52 per cent), increasing the availability of qualified workers (52 per cent), and reducing the cost of doing business (38 per cent).

·     Nearly half of organizations have a cybersecurity risk and response plan in place, but there are varying levels of confidence in their ability to protect themselves against a potential cyber attack. 

Read the full 2022-2023 Atlantic Insights report.

Developed using ACC’s Exclusive Online Atlantic IMPRESSIONS Insight Community, the Atlantic Insights report is made possible by our partners Narrative Research and contributions from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.


About the Atlantic Chamber – The Voice of Atlantic Canadian Business

The Atlantic Chamber of Commerce (ACC) is the largest accredited business organization of influence in Atlantic Canada representing more than 16,000 businesses through its network of 90 Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade and corporate partners in the four Atlantic Provinces. 

For more than 125 years, ACC has served as the voice of Atlantic Canadian business and actively partners with its members and other organizations to help create a strong, vibrant, and growing Atlantic Canada. ACC does this through strategic advocacy that shapes policy issues that impact business, the delivery of high-value programs and services to support business, and the facilitation and promotion of initiatives for business that contribute to sustainable economic growth in the region.

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