Bakers Journal

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Small biz optimism reaches two-year high says CFIB


June 16, 2014
By Bakers Journal

June 16, 2014, Canada – Optimism among small businesses continued on an
upward course in May, according to the Canadian Federation of
Independent Business. After a strong gain in April, the Business
Barometer index jumped another 1.4 points to 67.1 – the highest reading
in over two years.

June 16, 2014, Canada – Optimism among small businesses continued on an upward course in May, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. After a strong gain in April, the Business Barometer index jumped another 1.4 points to 67.1 – the highest reading in over two years.

“The small business glass is most definitely more than half-full right now in Canada, with very few exceptions,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s vice-president and chief economist, in a media statement. “Optimism has either risen or stayed steady in the majority of provinces in May, and we’ve seen a sustained upward trend through the early part of 2014.”

Measured on a scale of 0 and 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.

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Bucking the trend, optimism levels in Ontario (64.9) and Newfoundland and Labrador (65.1) dropped this month. The Barometer also declined in Saskatchewan (69.9), although the province maintained the third-highest reading in the country. Meanwhile, Prince Edward Island (59.4), New Brunswick (58.8), Quebec (60.6), Manitoba (66.3) Alberta (72.8) and B.C. (74.1) all gained ground in their respective confidence levels. Nova Scotia’s reading held steady at 57.0.

By sector, May optimism levels generally stayed close together once again. Business owners in the natural resources, information and retail and business services were the most optimistic. Less optimism was felt by business owners in hospitality, wholesale, agriculture and manufacturing, but not by a significant margin.

“Small businesses in B.C. and Alberta are definitely the most confident this month, while that isn’t the case in the Maritimes,” added Mallett. “On a national scale, however, there are some strong signals coming from a mix of indicators, such as capital spending and full-time hiring plans that remain at near post-recession highs.”

The May 2014 findings are based on 967 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.

Read the Business Barometer research report.