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Business Barometer: BC small business optimism continues upward trend

Index reaches year-long high, but big challenges may lie ahead following announcement of new payroll tax in this week’s BC budget

The latest monthly Business Barometer survey results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) show British Columbia’s small business optimism increased 2.8 points in February to reach a level of 69.5. 

The February results confirm the continual climb in confidence among BC’s entrepreneurs, marking the third consecutive monthly increase.  BC’s business optimism now registers as the third highest in the country and holds a 7.1 point lead over the national index (62.4). 

Measured on a scale between 0 and 100, an index level above 50 means owners expecting their business’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. An index level of between 65 and 75 means the economy is growing at its potential.

BC hiring intentions remained relatively flat in February. Twenty-seven per cent of small business owners plan to increase full-time staff in the next three months, the same as in January. In contrast, nine per cent are looking to cut back, a one point increase from last month. 

Fifty-four per cent of entrepreneurs believe the general state of health of their business is good, representing a one point increase from January. This compares to nine per cent of BC business owners who describe their business’ health as poor, which has remained at the same level for four months.

The February 2018 findings are based on 659 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflects responses received through to February 12. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.8 per cent 19 times in 20.

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