SMEs’ confidence up after five-month decline: CFIB

Manufacturing optimism blows past national average.

October 3, 2012   by PLANT STAFF

TORONTO — Optimism among Canada’s small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) rose in September for the first time since March, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

The Toronto-based business association’s Business Barometer index increased two points to 62 from 60 in August.

Manufacturers are feeling particularly confident with an index rating of 65.5, above the monthly average and an improvement from 62.8 in August.

SME’s in Newfoundland and Labrador (75) are now the most optimistic followed by Alberta (71.1) and Saskatchewan (67.6).

Closer to the national average are New Brunswick (62.8), Quebec (61.2), Ontario (60.1) and BC (59). Optimism is much lower in Nova Scotia (55.6), Manitoba (54.7) and PEI (44.6).

Thirty-six per cent of business owners reported shortages of skilled labour as a constraint on their business, the first time since the recession concerns over the shortage of skilled labour have exceeded worries about insufficient customer demand.

Eighteen per cent of SMEs plan to hire full-time staff in the next three or four months compared to 12% who intend to cut back.

September findings are based on 918 responses.

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