Canadian Manufacturing

Small business confidence holds steady in December, CFIB says

Newfoundland and Labrador entrepreneurs most optimistic, those in PEI least confident in Canada


TORONTO—Optimism among Canada’s small- and medium-sized businesses held steady in December, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

The latest monthly Business Barometer index came in at 62.6, according to the CFIB, with small business owners in Newfoundland and Labrador remaining the most optimistic in the nation with an index score of 69.1.

“After a few months of swings, small business confidence ends the year very close to what it was in November,” CFIB vice-president and chief economist Ted Mallett said in a statement.

“While optimism is better than it was during the summer, the December reading is lower than index levels that were registered in the preceding winter, spring and fall months.”

According to the CFIB, entrepreneurs in Saskatchewan (66.5), Alberta (65.7) and British Columbia (65.0) are above the national average, while Ontario (62.9) and Manitoba (62.3) are roughly equivalent.

Nova Scotia (61.8), Quebec (59.8), New Brunswick (59.1) and Prince Edward Island (54.3) all fell below the national average.

“The economy continues to grow, albeit modestly,” Mallett said. “Entrepreneurs are reporting generally positive news about employment and capital investment plans.”

According to Mallett, those factors suggests growth could improve once economic optimism in the U.S. and Europe improves.

Full-time hiring plans continue to be strong for this time of the year.

The percentage of businesses expecting to hire full-time staff in the next three or four months remains above 20 per cent, compared to 10 per cent who say they will cut back.

Overall, 41 per cent of business owners described their state of business to be in “good” shape, about three-times the 14 per cent who said their state of business is “bad.”