Business Barometer(R) - National small business confidence up for second
straight month

TORONTO, March 3 /CNW/ - Business confidence among Canada's small and medium-sized businesses has now grown for two consecutive months - the first time it has done so since the previous summer. According to the latest business confidence survey findings from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), the Business Barometer(R) index rose to 68.5 in February, further building upon January's 66.9.

CFIB's vice-president of research and chief economist, Ted Mallett, noted that small business owners in both Quebec and Ontario recorded February confidence indexes above the national average for the first time since 2004. Leading the way were Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan with index scores of 72.5 and 71.5, respectively.

Last month saw 10 out of 13 total industry categories demonstrate improvements in confidence, matching January's ratio.

"Of these, optimism has recovered smartly among construction and manufacturing businesses, beating even the business and professional services sectors which are usually the most optimistic," explained Mallett, tempering that, "relative weakness continues to be seen among owners of businesses in the hospitality, natural resources and agriculture sectors."

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 February 2010 findings are based on 1,119 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 2.9 per cent 19 times in 20.

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

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Independent Business

For further information: For further information: or to arrange an interview with Ted Mallett, contact Meghan Carrington or Adam Miller at (416) 222-8022


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