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Small biz confidence drops in November


December 5, 2012
By Canadian Garden Centre & Nursery

Dec. 5, 2012, Toronto — Optimism among Canada’s small- and medium-size businesses declined in November, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

The CFIB’s Business Barometer index fell to 62.9 from 65.6 in October. 

“Small business confidence took a step backward last month, although it’s still above the levels we observed in the June-through-September period,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s chief economist and vice-president. “The results suggest that Canada’s economy continues to grow at a modest pace.”

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Small business owners in Newfoundland and Labrador (74.1) remain the most optimistic in the country, while entrepreneurs in British Columbia (67.1), Alberta (68.3) and Saskatchewan (66.4) are above the national average.

Small business owners in Ontario (63.0), New Brunswick (61.4), Manitoba (61.3), Nova Scotia (60.8), Quebec (60.2) and Prince Edward Island (52.1) are less optimistic, reporting confidence at or below the national average.

“Much of the decline in the overall average can be explained by unusually low confidence in natural resources, manufacturing and business services,” said Mallett. “On the other hand, the consumer-facing side of the small business sector looks relatively upbeat, with retail, hospitality and personal services all showing above-average confidence.” 

Full-time hiring plans are uncharacteristically strong for this time of the year: 22 per cent of business owners plan to hire full-time staff in the next three or four months – the highest CFIB has seen since the recession – compared to 13 per cent who say they will cut back.

Overall, 40 per cent of business owners described their state of business to be in “good” shape, about three-times the 12 per cent who said their state of business is “bad.”

Measured on a scale from 0 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. Index levels normally range between 65 and 70 when the economy is growing at its potential.

The November findings are based on 981 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.1 per cent, 19 times in 20.


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