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March 28 2024

Report: Calgary business optimism skyrockets

Front of business with open sign

Calgary, Alberta, March 28, 2024 – The Q1 Canadian Survey on Business Conditions, conducted by Statistics Canada in collaboration with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, shows Calgary is among the top five cities for business expectations – higher than the national average. This positive outlook is led by provincial growth and business optimism; 77.3 per cent of Calgary businesses, across sectors, are optimistic for their future over the next 12 months – a significant increase from 62.5 per cent in Q1 2023. However, businesses are not without challenges, with 55.4 per cent reporting a significant impact on their operations due to higher interest rates – most acutely felt by businesses with under 20 employees (73.7%).

Bar graph comparing business optimism through Q4 2022-Q1 2024.

“Calgary has momentum, and it’s a vote of confidence in the resilience and grit of our business community,” says Ruhee Ismail-Teja, Vice President of Policy and External Affairs at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. “However, we remain cautious – we know cost-related obstacles loom large, with rising input costs and inflation topping the list of concerns. Smaller businesses grapple with inflation, while larger enterprises continue to face rising interest rate constraints and debt costs.”

Business optimism has surged recently due to a combination of increased access to capital, a growing consumer base and reduced business closures. 76.0 per cent of businesses report having sufficient cash on hand to operate effectively. A robust economy and increased consumer spending have bolstered business revenues, furthered by a net positive migration of over 200,000 people to the province through 2023. Q1 2024 data shows 43.9 per cent of businesses report year-over-year revenue growth, signaling a healthy market demand, encouraging businesses to expand, hire and invest in their operations. Further, the data suggests a decline in the number of businesses planning to close at 0.5 per cent, and only 5.4 per cent of owners planning to sell the business this year, a positive sign for an overall optimistic business climate.

The Q1 data finds cost-related issues dominate business concerns. A majority of Calgary businesses expressed heightened concern about cost-related obstacles (72.0%), including rising input costs (52.5%) and inflation (55.5%). Labour-related challenges remain a concern for 38.3 per cent of businesses, and is felt across all sizes of business, but most acutely in construction (71.5%) and hospitality (91.2%). When it comes to supply chain expectations, most Calgary businesses (62.6%) do not anticipate significant changes in supply chain challenges, indicating greater confidence for the months ahead.

We call on all levels of government to continue prioritizing policies that advance business certainty and foster a resilient investment climate. We encourage government to advance economic diversification to maintain our competitiveness, implement measures that mitigate rising costs to business, and expand our national and international trade landscape to support the mobility of goods and services.


The Calgary Chamber of Commerce exists to help businesses reach their potential. As the convenor and catalyst for a vibrant, inclusive and prosperous business community, the Chamber works to build strength and resilience among its members and position Calgary as a magnet for talent, diversification and opportunity. As an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization founded in 1891, we build on our history to serve and advocate for businesses of all sizes, in all sectors across the city.