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BC small business confidence down slightly in July

Province drops a spot, now second most optimistic entrepreneurs

VANCOUVER, July 28, 2016 – According to the latest monthly Business Barometer survey results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), BC’s small business optimism decreased 2.9 points in July to 66.4. 

The decline in BC small business optimism came after four consecutive months of gains. The result was the province losing its position as the most confident entrepreneurs in Canada, with PEI (68.8) reclaiming the title. BC’s margin over the national average narrowed slightly, now 8.8 points above (57.6). Despite remaining at the top of the pack, BC’s business confidence remains below the levels seen in the first half of 2015, when the index hovered around 70.

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.

“After just a month holding the title, July’s business confidence decline means BC is no longer home to the most optimistic entrepreneurs in Canada,” said Richard Truscott, Vice President of British Columbia and Alberta. “That being said, small business optimism remains relatively buoyant and is still within the healthy range for growth prospects.”

To view the full report, please visit Business Barometer

BC small businesses still intend to ramp up hiring, but intentions have softened slightly. In July, 26 per cent plan to increase full-time staff in the next three months, down 3 points from June.  In comparison, 9 per cent are looking to cut back, up a single point from June.

Forty-six per cent of entrepreneurs in July believe the general state of health of their business is good, down three points since June. That compares to just 10 per cent of BC small businesses who describe their business’ health as poor, unchanged from June.

Tax and regulatory costs are the main cost constraint on businesses as indicated by two-thirds of respondents.  Wage costs have become a significant constraint as well, with nearly half of entrepreneurs citing them as difficult to manage.

The least optimistic province in Canada remains Alberta, although the gap has narrowed considerably after four consecutive monthly gains. Alberta’s index was up 4.2 points to 46.7 in July.  The national Business Barometer index fell 2.4 points in July to 57.6. The provincial numbers were: PEI (68.8), BC (66.4), Quebec (64.1), New Brunswick (63.3), Ontario (61.2), Nova Scotia (58.5), Manitoba (56.4), Saskatchewan (51.1), Newfoundland (50.0),  and Alberta (46.7).

The July 2016 findings are based on 642 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through to June 20. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.9 per cent 19 times in 20.

To arrange an interview with Richard Truscott, Vice President of British Columbia and Alberta, about the BC results, please call 604-684-5325 or email [email protected].  To interview Chief Economist Ted Mallett, about the national results, please call 416-222-8022. For more information about CFIB, visit

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region, including 10,000 in B.C.

July 28, 2016

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