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Small biz confidence edges up


October 10, 2012
By Canadian Garden Centre & Nursery

Oct. 10, 2012, Toronto — Optimism among Canada’s small- and medium-size
businesses rose last month for the first time since March, according to
the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

The CFIB’s Business Barometer index increased two points in September to 62.0, from 60.0 in August. 

“After
a five-consecutive month decline in business confidence through the
spring and summer, small business owners were a little more upbeat in
September,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s chief economist and vice-president.
“Despite this good news, however, the index level still suggests
Canada’s economy is growing at below-average rates.”

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Small
business owners in Newfoundland and Labrador (75.0) are now the most
optimistic in the country. Entrepreneurs in Alberta (71.1) and
Saskatchewan (67.6) are close behind, while optimism is close to the
national average in New Brunswick (62.8), Quebec (61.2), Ontario (60.1)
and British Columbia (59.0). Optimism is much lower in Nova Scotia
(55.6), Manitoba (54.7) and Prince Edward Island (44.6).

“Overall,
36 per cent of business owners reported shortages of skilled labour as a
constraint on their business,” added Mallett. “This is the first time
since the recession that concerns over the shortage of skilled labour
have exceeded worries about insufficient customer demand.” 

Full-time
hiring plans continue to be better than average for this time of the
year: 18 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
September 2011 and 2010. Overall, 41 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 of 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. According to past results, index
levels normally range between 65 and 70 when the economy is growing at
its potential.

The September 2012 findings are based on 918
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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