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Business Barometer: 2018 begins with improved small business optimism

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Eight provinces see confidence increase

January 25, 2018 – Small business owners are beginning the New Year on a more confident note, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business’ (CFIB) monthly business barometer. 

The monthly index—based on a national survey which asks business owners how they expect their business to perform moving forward—jumped three points in January to 62.7 (out of 100), its best reading since hitting a cyclical high last May.

“Despite a positive reading to begin the year, the index remains below the levels where the small business community is growing at its potential,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB vice-president and chief economist. “While we’re seeing a lot of forward momentum, minimum wage plans across the country have a higher than normal number of businesses expecting to cut back on staffing levels, and plans to increase both wages and prices remain high.”

Provincial Results: Quebec still number one

Business owners in Quebec remained the country’s most optimistic with a five-point gain to reach 71.3, just a shade below the province’s all-time high. New Brunswick saw the biggest jump, this month, with a 6.1 point increase to 56.9, while Prince Edward Island dropped four points to 52.4.


 Confidence IndexChange from December
British Columbia66.7+2.4
Nova Scotia63.9+3.1
New Brunswick56.9+6.1
Prince Edward Island52.4-4.1
Newfoundland & Labrador51.8+3.0



Industry results: Financial sector leads the way while hospitality confidence remains low

Industry confidence grew in 11 of 13 sectors in January, with only the sgriculture and transportation sectors experiencing confidence declines.

The financial services sector continued its upward confidence trend, increasing four points to 70.6, good for best among industries. Professional services is a close second at 69.8, up 8.3 points since December.

The hospitality sector remains at the bottom of the pack despite an 8 point gain to 52.6. 

Read the January Business Barometer®.

January 2018 findings are based on 840 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through January 15. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.4 per cent 19 times in 20.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Andy Radia, CFIB
[email protected]

About CFIB
CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region. Learn more at