Business Barometer ® - National small business confidence ends the year on a strong note

TORONTO, Jan. 5 /CNW/ - Business confidence made a strong upward move in December, a signal that the economy is at last finding some firmer footing. CFIB's Business Barometer® Index rebounded to 69.3 in the final month of the year, more than 5 points above November's level and nearly matching the post-recession high reached in March 2010.

"Interestingly, it wasn't holiday retail spending that accounted for the brighter sentiment," explained CFIB vice-president and chief economist, Ted Mallett. "Instead, a large improvement in optimism among manufacturers, natural resource businesses, financial services and personal services firms pushed the overall index upward."

Regionally, Ontario's 69.5 index score was its strongest showing since March. Small business optimism in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan may have settled back slightly, but these regions remain near the national average. Sentiment was also measurably more positive in Manitoba and Quebec, although their scores remain slightly below average. Overall, business owners in Newfoundland and Labrador are the most optimistic in Canada, pushing their index level up to 72.3. And, although those in New Brunswick are the least optimistic, their score of 64.4 is still within range of the national average.

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 December 2010 findings are based on 825 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.4 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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CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS

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