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BC small business confidence rebounds in October

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Province tied for the second most optimistic entrepreneurs

VANCOUVER, October 27, 2016 – According to the latest monthly Business Barometer survey results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), BC’s small business optimism was up 2.2 points in October to 65.5.

BC small business confidence erased some of the losses seen in the previous three months, which had seen confidence fall six points. BC’s October 2016 confidence level nearly mirrors where it was last October (65.7). The province increased its national rank, now tied for second with Nova Scotia (65.5) and behind just PEI (65.8). BC also widened its lead over the national average to 7.8 points (57.7).

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.

“The downward trend seen in recent months has reversed, as British Columbia’s small businesses are feeling fairly confident in October,” said Aaron Aerts, BC economist. “Business optimism is back in that healthy range above 65, suggesting the economy is heating up. BC is now home to the second most confident entrepreneurs nationally, just barely trailing PEI.”

To view the full report, click here

While BC small businesses overall are still planning to hire more than cut back, intentions were once again down in October. In October, 17 per cent plan to increase full-time staff in the next three months, down five points from September. In contrast, 13 per cent are looking to cut back, down a point from September.

Forty-five per cent of entrepreneurs in October believe the general state of health of their business is good, up two points since September. That compares to just seven per cent of BC small businesses who describe their business’ health as poor, down two points from last month.

Tax and regulatory costs are the main cost constraint on businesses as indicated by over half of respondents. Wage costs continue to become a more significant constraint, with almost half of entrepreneurs citing them as difficult to manage.

The national Business Barometer index fell 1.3 points in October to 57.7. The provincial numbers were: PEI (65.8), Nova Scotia (65.5), BC (65.5), Quebec (64.8), Ontario (60.4), New Brunswick (56.1), Manitoba (55.6), Saskatchewan (55.1), Newfoundland (44.4) and Alberta (41.5).

The October 2016 findings are based on 651 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through to October 17. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.8 per cent 19 times in 20.

To arrange an interview with Aaron Aerts, BC Economist, 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.ca.

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.