The latest Business Barometer Index from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) shows confidence at 66 in February, up 0.8% from January.
TORONTO: The confidence level of small businesses continues to rise. The latest Business Barometer Index from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) shows confidence at 66 in February, up 0.8% from January.
This is the sixth-consecutive monthly increase, although the CFIB says there are still a few points to go before the index returns to levels seen this time last year.
Not surprisingly, the natural resources and business services sectors were the most confident, while optimism weakened in manufacturing and construction. Retail and hospitality improved, which the CFIB suggests consumers are in a positive frame of mind.
“New orders levels are a little slower in February, on account of weaker manufacturing and construction sentiment; however, these leading indicators, including overtime levels and accounts receivables, remain much higher compared to recessionary levels,” said Ted Mallet, CFIB’s chief economist and vice-president.
Businesses in Western Canada are the most optimistic with Alberta at 72.3 and Saskatchewan at 70.1 topping the list. Optimism was also up in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario. BC’s confidence fell, followed by PEI and Newfoundland & Labrador.
“Better conditions in Ontario and the Maritimes that were once held back by European and US economic worries appear to be driving the gains in sentiment,” said Mallet.
Measured on a scale between 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.
CFIB said past results show index levels normally range between 65 and 75 when the economy is growing. The February findings are based on 877 responses from CFIB members.
Click here for the results.