BC small business optimism falls for third straight month

As summer comes to a close, BC entrepreneurs’ confidence weakens

VANCOUVER, September 28, 2017 – The latest monthly Business Barometer survey results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) reveal British Columbia’s small business optimism fell 3.4 points in September to 59.9. 

The September results mark the third month in a row that confidence among the province’s entrepreneurs has declined, dropping 9.6 points since June. Despite the drop, BC’s overall provincial rank actually increased from sixth to fifth place, which highlights the relatively greater index decreases in other parts of Canada. While BC still maintains a lead over the national index (56.9), the gap has shrunk to 3.0.

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.

“British Columbia’s small business confidence index has remained below the 65 point threshold that reflects a strong, growing economy,” said Aaron Aerts, BC Economist. “There has been a lot of talk recently from our federal government about increasing taxes on small businesses, which raises concerns for entrepreneurs. That being said, BC business optimism remains relatively healthy.” added Aerts.

As the summer season comes to a close, BC hiring intentions were down in September. Fifteen per cent of small business owners plan to increase full-time staff in the next three months, down five points from August. In contrast, eleven per cent are looking to cut back, indicating a two point increase from last month.

Fifty per cent of entrepreneurs in September believe the general state of health of their business is good, representing a 2 point loss from August. This compares to just seven per cent of BC business owners who describe their business’ health as poor, an increase of one point from last month.

The national Business Barometer index in September was 56.9, down 2.9 points from August. The provincial numbers were: Quebec (70.9), Nova Scotia (63.5), PEI (63.0), New Brunswick (60.8), BC (59.9), Alberta (57.7), Manitoba (57.3), Ontario (55.0), Newfoundland (52.0) and Saskatchewan (50.9).

The September 2017 findings are based on 810 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflects responses received through to September 18. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.4 per cent 19 times in 20.

To arrange an interview with Aaron Aerts about the BC results, please call 604-684-5325 or email msbc@cfib.caafter 8:30 AM PST.  To interview Chief Economist, Ted Mallett, about the national results, please call 416-222-8022. For more information, 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.