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Business Barometer®: Newfoundland and Labrador small business confidence remains low

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St. John’s, January 27, 2017 – According to the latest Business Barometer survey results released by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), small business confidence in Newfoundland and Labrador is 46.0 in January. 

“The challenges being faced by many business owners in the province are real,” says Vaughn Hammond, Director of provincial affairs in Newfoundland and Labrador. “The economy, compounded by the provincial budget decisions in 2016, have put many business owners on the cusp of survival.” 

Four per cent of respondents are planning to add full-time staff, while 36 per cent expect to cut staff in the next three months. This is an indication the recent increases in the provincial unemployment rate will be reversed any time soon. 

In terms of their view about the general state of the economy, 38 per cent of entrepreneurs characterized it as “good” in December, while eight per cent of respondents described it as “bad”. 

Insufficient domestic demand was identified by 48 per cent of respondents as the biggest challenge for small business in Newfoundland and Labrador. Seventy-nine per cent consider tax and regulatory costs to be the largest cost constraint. 

The national Business Barometer Index held steady in January (60.1). Across Canada, entrepreneurs in Quebec (68.6) were the most optimistic about the economy and the future prospects for their business, followed by Manitoba (67.1), Nova Scotia and British Columbia (65.2), Prince Edward Island (64.6), New Brunswick (63.5), Ontario (63.4), Saskatchewan (55.0), Alberta (47.2), and Newfoundland and Labrador (46.0). 

More details about the Business Barometer are available at www.cfib.ca.  To arrange an interview with Chief Economist, Ted Mallett, about the national results, please call 1-416-222-8022.  To speak with Vaughn Hammond, please call 753-7745. 

About the Business Barometer: Measured on a scale of 0 and 100, an index level above 50 means owners expecting their businesses’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance.  According to past results, index levels normally range between 65 and 75 when the economy is growing at its potential. December 2015 findings are based on 782 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through January 16. Findings are considered accurate to +/- 3.5 per cent 19 times in 20. 

About CFIB: As Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses, CFIB is Powered by Entrepreneurs™.  Established in 1971, CFIB takes direction from more than 109,000 members in every sector nationwide, including 2,000 in Newfoundland and Labrador, giving independent business a strong and influential voice at all levels of government and helping to grow the economy.