TORONTO, Oct. 31, 2013 /CNW/ - October saw small business optimism trend up ever-so-slightly from the previous month, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). The Business Barometer® index rose by just half a point to 65.0 from September's 64.5.
"Although the index went up slightly in October, what we can take from the last four months is a general stabilizing trend," said Ted Mallett, CFIB's chief economist and vice-president. "In the coming months, it will be telling to see if business owners can build confidence levels further in light of reasonably stable price and interest rate environments and improving prospects for the US economy."
Small business optimism in Newfoundland and Labrador rose four points to 76.4, tops in the country. These levels are difficult to sustain, and a correction could be coming. Also up in October was British Columbia, which at 70.7 is now #2 in Canada, along with Ontario, Manitoba and New Brunswick (66.6, 62.4, and 57.0 respectively). Prince Edward Island's small business optimism stabilized in October, but it remains by far the lowest reading of any of the provinces at 49.0. Nova Scotia (60.1), Alberta (70.4) and Quebec (57.8) fell off slightly, although Alberta remains near the top of the rankings. Saskatchewan, also near the top, held steady at 69.4.
By sector, the strongest results were in professional services, manufacturing and natural resources. Business owners in transportation, finance, real estate and retail were somewhat less optimistic than the average.
"The ideal results are stability with an upward trend, and that's exactly what we are seeing over the past quarter," added Mallett. "After a rough spring, small business optimism has leveled off somewhat, and that stability is reflected in all of the indicators. Full-time hiring plans are steady, orders and accounts receivables show gradual improvements, and pricing and wage expectations have also increased of late."
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 October 2013 findings are based on 1,009 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.
Read the October 2013 Business Barometer® at www.cfib.ca/barometer.
CFIB is Canada's largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.
SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)
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For more information or to arrange an interview with Ted Mallett, contact Gisele Lumsden at 416 222-8022 or email [email protected]