Business Barometer®: Business confidence slump continues in November | CFIB

November 29, 2018 – Small business confidence rose 0.7 points to 61.2 in November, performing below expectations, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)’s Business Barometer® index. 

“Business confidence hasn’t grown as would be expected compared to the current GDP growth,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s vice-president and chief economist. “Most provinces, however, are showing lower confidence levels compared to last month. Even Quebec, which reached record high confidence levels in September, plummeted below the national average.”

Forty-two per cent of owners report that their business is in good shape this month, compared to 11 per cent who say they are in bad shape. Hiring intentions are back to normal seasonal levels, with 18 per cent who plan to hire additional full-time staff in the next few months versus 14 per cent who plan to cut back. 

An index level between 65 and 70 normally indicates that the economy is growing at its potential and a majority of owners expect their business’s performance to be stronger in the next year.

Provincial results: Quebec confidence plummets

Quebec experienced another major drop in confidence this month, falling to 60.9 index points. Prince Edward Island lost some of its confidence, but remained the most optimistic province at 69.2, followed by New Brunswick at 67.2, which experienced the greatest confidence gain. British Columbia experienced a modest gain to 63.1 points. Ontario and Manitoba lost confidence, but remained near the national average. Nova Scotia, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador and Saskatchewan all remained below the national average.

Industry results: Optimism at a low

Confidence fell in seven out of 13 sectors this month and gains in the remaining six were generally modest. Retail experienced the greatest loss (-5.7), even with the holidays approaching. Agriculture continued to post the lowest results at 51.4, despite a modest confidence gain this month, followed by hospitality (52.7) and construction (55.0). Professional services, health care and wholesale were the most optimistic sectors. Personal services experienced the greatest confidence increase (+3.3), rising to third place.

Read the November Business Barometer®

November 2018 findings are based on 707 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through November 16. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.7 per cent 19 times in 20.

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Milena Stanoeva, CFIB

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