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Drop in small business confidence

Halifax, 25 May 2017– Optimism among Nova Scotia's small business owners has stalled in May; its Barometer Index lost two points reaching 64.4. Short-term employment plans are relatively good, with 18 per cent looking to hire while 5 per cent planning to decrease full-time employment. About 48 per cent business owners are reporting their firms are in good shape while 14 per cent say their firms are in bad shape.

Across Canada, the month of May saw another gain in small business sentiment across the country. CFIB's monthly Business Barometer Index progressed another point and a half upward to hit 66.0—its best level in two and a half years. With that increase, the Index has pretty much recovered its losses from the resource price crunch, which began in late 2014.

The index improvement, however, was narrowly based regionally—centred mainly in British Columbia (69.4), Manitoba (66.4) and Alberta (61.9). Seasonal factors likely contributed to an improvement in Prince Edward Island (67.9) and Newfoundland and Labrador (45.3), but there was a slight fallback in sentiment in Ontario (68.2), Quebec (65.0), and New Brunswick (60.2). Saskatchewan business owners showed an even steeper decline in optimism to 49.1.

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 70 means the economy is growing at its potential.

May 2017 findings are based on 673 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through May 15. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.8 per cent 19 times in 20.

Business Barometer is a monthly publication of the CFIB and is a registered trademark.