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Businesses optimistic about the months ahead


November 22, 2012
By Canadian Garden Centre & Nursery

Nov. 22, 2012, Toronto — Optimism among Canada’s small- and medium-size businesses grew stronger last month, according to the Business Barometer index prepared by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). 

The index increased 3.6 points to hit 65.6 in October. This marks the highest level of optimism since April.   

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“October’s gains are the biggest one-month improvement in business confidence we’ve seen in two years,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s chief economist and vice-president. “Our survey results suggest the economy is shaking off some of the sluggishness we’ve seen since the spring.”

Small business owners in Newfoundland and Labrador (76.7) remain the most optimistic in Canada, followed closely by entrepreneurs in Alberta (72.2) and Saskatchewan (67.8). The biggest gains in optimism were observed in Ontario (65.6), British Columbia (64.7), and Nova Scotia (59.6), while smaller improvements occurred in Quebec (61.9), Manitoba (57.4), and Prince Edward Island (50.0).

Only New Brunswick (down four points to 58.6) saw a decline.

“By sector, manufacturing, professional services and information, arts and culture are all showing above-average confidence,” added Mallett. “It looks as though some of this is being driven by better economic news from the United States.”  

Full-time hiring plans continue to be better than average for this time of the year: 19 per cent of business owners plan to hire full-time staff in the next three or four months compared to 12 per cent who say they will cut back. These numbers are much more positive than the findings from October 2011 and 2010. Overall, 41 per cent of business owners described their state of business to be in “good” shape, about three-times those who said their state of business is “bad” (13 per cent).

Measured on a scale from zero to 100, an index level above 50 means owners expecting their businesses’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. 

According to past results, index levels normally range between 65 and 70 when the economy is growing at its potential. 

The October 2012 findings are based on 914 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.2 per cent, 19 times in 20.


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