Business Barometer® - National small business confidence at its highest since '05

TORONTO, May 4 /CNW/ - Canadian small and mid-size business confidence made a step upward in April. CFIB's Business Barometer® Index rose to 70.7, a point and a half above its previous month's level and its highest in 6 years.

"Although it has been close in the past few months, this is the first time since early 2005 that the index has actually risen above the 70 mark," explained CFIB vice-president and chief economist, Ted Mallett. "Nonetheless, the overall positive result masks some pretty large regional and sectoral differences—suggesting there are growing internal pressures in the economy."

According to Mallett, the run-up of energy prices has widened the 'outlook gap' between producing and consuming provinces. Businesses in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Newfoundland and Labrador—as well as in Manitoba and British Columbia are running well above the national average. Index levels in the Maritimes, however, are running about a dozen points lower than in the West. Quebec businesses are also less optimistic compared to the average. Perhaps the most surprising result is in Ontario, where optimism spiked upward by five points in the month, despite rising energy prices and the Dollar. In particular, these forces have not dampened the outlooks of manufacturers, wholesalers or construction businesses. It remains to be seen if this is a sustainable trend.

This index is available provincially and by industry. Results and the full report are available at: http://www.cfib-fcei.ca/english/barometer and www.cfib-fcei.ca/cfib-documents/Canada-BarometerHistory.xls

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 April 2011 findings are based on 743 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.6 per cent 19 times in 20.

Business Barometer is a monthly publication of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and is a registered trademark.

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:

For more information or to arrange an interview with Ted Mallett, contact Meghan Carrington or Adam Miller at 416 222-8022 or email public.affairs@cfib.ca 

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CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS

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