Business Barometer® - National small business confidence remains positive, sees no shadow

TORONTO, Feb. 2 /CNW/ - The improvement in small and mid-sized business optimism that unfolded late last year appears to have carried over into 2011. CFIB's Business Barometer® Index finished the month of January at 68.9—only slightly off December's level of 69.3. In contrast, the index had spent most of 2010 in the mid-60s range. Buttressing this positive business sentiment are post-recession highs in the health of inventories, new orders and investment intentions for production machinery and equipment.

"It appears to be the business-to-business side of the economy that is powering this latest improvement," explained CFIB vice-president and chief economist, Ted Mallett. "After supporting the economy so well earlier in the recovery, the consumer-led sectors have remained in the background."

The pattern across Canada has seen some shifting of perspectives. Optimism among business owners rose in Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, while it fell slightly in Ontario and New Brunswick. Overall, owners in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland & Labrador and British Columbia are the most upbeat, all with index levels closely packed between 71 and 72. In contrast, those in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are least optimistic at 62.1 and 66.4 respectively.

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 January 2011 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.

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 107,000 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 Meghan Carrington or Adam Miller at 416 222-8022 or emailpublic.affairs@cfib.ca

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