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Small biz confidence takes another hit


April 25, 2013
By Canadian Garden Centre & Nursery

Apr. 25, 2013, Toronto — The confidence of small business owners continued to decline in April, following a bigger hit in March, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

The CFIB's Business Barometer index fell to 62.4, down half a point since March.

"After a promising January and February, more business owners appear to be disappointed with their firms' performance so far this spring," said Ted Mallett, CFIB's chief economist and vice-president. "These latest results are back in line with what we saw in the last months of 2012 when the economy was exhibiting only lacklustre growth."

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Small business owners in Newfoundland and labrador (69.1) are the most optimistic in the country, although confidence is rising in British Columbia (67.6), which overtook Saskatchewan (67.2) and Alberta (65.3). Quebec (64.1) and Ontario (63.2) are just above the national average, while Manitoba (61.7) and New Brunswick (58.1) are below it.

Nova Scotia (53.8) saw Canada's biggest decline in business confidence, meaning Prince Edward Island (55.1) is no longer the lower in the country.

"The pattern across the country has been quite uneven," said Mallett. "If we look at the results by industry, the biggest declines in optimism occurred in manufacturing and retail, while the confidence of construction, wholesale and business services firm owners has remained steady."

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 April 2013 findings are based on 1184 responses collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members to a controlled-access web survey. Findings are statistically accurate to +/-2.8 per cent 19 times in 20.


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