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Small business optimism climbs incrementally
TORONTO, Nov. 2, 2011 /CNW/ - Confidence among Canada's small and
mid-sized business owners climbed slightly in October. The Canadian
Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)'s Business Barometer for the
month measured in at a modest 63.6, almost a point above September's
62.7 and marginally higher than the 61.7 level posted in August when
the latest round of sovereign debt and banking sector worries from
Europe started sweeping around the world.
"Judging from past history, index levels in the low 60s are still
associated with economic growth in Canada, but only just," said Ted
Mallett, vice-president and chief economist for CFIB. "Performance may
not be stellar, but at least this latest data suggest economic growth
has not turned negative."
Business owners in Saskatchewan and Alberta are the most optimistic,
with index levels just under 74. Ontario (61.3) and Quebec (60.2) is
slightly below the national average, but the weakest optimism is found
in Nova Scotia (57.6) and New Brunswick (58.5).
Optimism in the manufacturing, wholesale and retail sectors remains
close to the overall average, however, optimism among those in the
transportation and financial services sectors have fallen off
significantly. Construction and hospitality also remain weak, while
optimism in the healthcare and professional services sectors remain
"Regardless, more business owners are saying their recent performance
has been better than at any time since the recession began. After
falling back significantly in August and September, amid economic
uncertainty, business owners seem to have restored at least some of
their capital spending plans," remarked Mallett adding "40 per cent of
business owners describe their state of business to be in 'good' shape,
almost three-times the 13 per cent who say it is poor."
Customer demand continues to be the most commonly cited constraint on
business performance (41 per cent), followed by shortages of suitably
skilled labour (37 per cent) and management skills and time constraints
(31 per cent). More than two-thirds of respondents stated that fuel and
energy costs are seen as the most problematic business input costs,
given their variability.
"Taxes and the cost of complying with regulations are a problem for 58
per cent of business owners, while wage levels, banking fees and
insurance costs are pain points for one business in two," concluded
Measured on a scale between 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 75 when the
economy is growing. The October 2011 findings are based on 1,003
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.
As Canada's largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses,
CFIB is Powered by Entrepreneurs™. Established in 1971, CFIB takes
direction from more than 108,000 members in every sector nationwide,
giving independent business a strong and influential voice at all
levels of government and helping to grow the economy.
SOURCE CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
For further information:
or to arrange an interview with Ted Mallett, contact Gisele Lumsden or Meghan Carrington at 416 222-8022 or email email@example.com