TORONTO, Dec. 5, 2012 /CNW/ - Optimism among Canada's small- and medium-size businesses declined in November, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). The Business Barometer® index fell from 65.6 in October to 62.9.
"Small business confidence took a step backward last month, although it's still above the levels we observed in the June-through-September period," said Ted Mallett, CFIB's chief economist and vice-president. "The results suggest that Canada's economy continues to grow at a modest pace."
Small business owners in Newfoundland and Labrador (74.1) remain the most optimistic in the country. Entrepreneurs in British Columbia (67.1), Alberta (68.3) and Saskatchewan (66.4) are above the national average. Ontario (63.0), New Brunswick (61.4), Manitoba (61.3), Nova Scotia (60.8), Quebec (60.2) and Prince Edward Island (52.1) are at or below the national average.
"Much of the decline in the overall average can be explained by unusually low confidence in natural resources, manufacturing and business services," added Mallett. "On the other hand, the consumer-facing side of the small business sector looks relatively upbeat, with retail, hospitality and personal services all showing above-average confidence."
Full-time hiring plans are uncharacteristically strong for this time of the year: 22 per cent of business owners plan to hire full-time staff in the next three or four months—the highest CFIB has seen, since the recession—compared to 13 per cent who say they will cut back. Overall, 40 per cent of business owners described their state of business to be in "good" shape, about three-times the 12 per cent who said their state of business is "bad."
Measured on a scale of 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 70 when the economy is growing at its potential. The November 2012 findings are based on 981 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 109,000 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
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