Business Barometer®: Small business confidence tumbles amid COVID-19 outbreak

Toronto, March 18, 2020 – Small business confidence took a sizable tumble in early March on news of the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)’s Business Barometer®. Optimism levels dropped to 49.8 index points, down more than ten points from its February reading of 60.5, the lowest level since the 2008 financial crisis.

The Index is measured on a scale of 0 to 100 based on owners’ perspectives on the health of their businesses for the year ahead. An index level nearer to 65 indicates that the economy is growing at its potential.

Yesterday, CFIB released the preliminary results of a survey on the impacts of COVID-19 on small business owners. It found, among other things, that a quarter say they won’t survive a month with a big drop in income.

The latest results reflect 748 responses to an emailed survey, with more than 80 per cent of them received on March 2 and 3. 

CFIB normally releases the results of its Barometer on the final Thursday of each month. Due to rapidly evolving economic conditions impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic, CFIB will increase the frequency of its Business Barometer Survey from monthly to bi-monthly through June 2020. CFIB will release results for mid-March on March 26 with an early flash estimate for April on April 9.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at