Canadian Manufacturing

Business hiring plans hit new high

Central and Eastern Canada expected to cash in on diversification efforts: BoC

OTTAWA—Canadian firms are planning to boost sales, investments and staff levels this year, according to a new Bank of Canada survey.

The majority of companies said sales have already increased in the past year and 49 per cent said they expect another year of growth.

The brightest outlook was in Western Canada, where the demand for commodities remains strong.

Central and Eastern Canadian companies expect sales to stay about the same, citing softer U.S. demand, strong competition and a high Canadian dollar.

Despite that, a number of firms said they expect to reap the rewards of recent efforts to reposition their business or diversify markets.

Plans to invest in machinery and equipment are also on the rise. Nearly half of all companies expect to make purchases this year. They also reported better lending conditions in the past few months.

The balance of opinion on employment rose to a record high—57 per cent expect to add staff, 39 per cent plan to keep levels the same and only four per cent anticipate cutting back on their workforce. Hiring plans were spread across all regions and sectors.

But firms are expecting some challenges. More are reporting that they would have some difficulty meeting an unexpected surge in demand. They’re also having a tougher time finding workers than in recent surveys. A quarter said that shortage is hurting their ability to meet demand.

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