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Newfoundland and Labrador small business confidence drops sharply in February

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St. John’s, February 25, 2016 – According to the latest Business Barometer survey results released by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), small business confidence in Newfoundland and Labrador has dropped sharply to 53.5 in February, a decline of nearly 10 points from the month before. 

“Many small business owners are concerned about the huge municipal tax bills they received for 2016,” says Vaughn Hammond, Director of Provincial Affairs in Newfoundland and Labrador for CFIB. “They are also wondering what will be announced in the provincial budget and what the impact will be on their business. They are hoping for a credible plan to deal with the government’s multi-billion dollar deficit, which will also help them invest and grow the economy.” 

Entrepreneurs’ hiring intentions are very weak, with seven per cent of respondents planning to add full-time staff in the next three months, while 20 per cent are expecting to cut staff. 

In terms of their view about the general state of their business health, 56 per cent of entrepreneurs characterized it as “good” in February, while two per cent of respondents described it as “bad”.

Shortage of skilled labour was identified by 42 per cent of respondents as the biggest challenge for small business in Newfoundland and Labrador. Fifty-six per cent consider tax and regulatory costs to be the largest cost constraint. 

The national Business Barometer Index increased in February (54.7) compared to January (54.3). Across Canada, entrepreneurs in Nova Scotia (66.9) were the most optimistic about the economy and the future prospects for their business, followed by Quebec (66.3), Prince Edward Island (65.5), Manitoba (61.5), British Columbia (61.1), New Brunswick (61.0), Ontario (60.8), Newfoundland and Labrador (53.5), Saskatchewan (52.4), and Alberta (26.7). 

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. February 2016 findings are based on 723 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through February 15. Findings are considered accurate to +/- 3.6 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.