The CFIB’s Business Barometer Index finished at 68.9 in January, only slightly off December’s level of 69.3.
The improvement in small and mid-sized business optimism that unfolded late last year appears to have carried over into 2011. Although optimism in Ontario ebbed slightly, positive sentiments increased in Quebec and British Columbia.
Overall, manufacturing respondents report that:
• 46 per cent report their overall state of business is satisfactory
• 68 per cent report there will be no change in employment plans in 2011
• 53 per cent said insufficient domestic demand is a major business constraint
• 75 per cent said fuel and energy costs are major concerns
Businesses cite post-recession highs in the health of inventories, new orders and investment intentions for production machinery and equipment as reasons for optimism. Measured on a scale between 0 and 100, index levels above 50 means owners expecting businesses to strengthen in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance.
Past results show index levels usually range between 65 and 75 when there is economic growth.