Business Barometer: All provinces see confidence drop in April

April 26, 2018 – Small business confidence fell for the third consecutive month in April, with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)’s Business Barometer® index dropping more than four points to 56.6, the third lowest reading in the past decade.

“The only other times confidence was this low, was during the 08-09 economic crisis and the 2015-16 energy price crunch” said Andrea Bourgeois, CFIB senior analyst. “Hiring plans remain weak for this time of year, although measures for general business health, investment plans and new orders are steady. With declines in confidence in all 10 provinces and 11 out of 13 industries, there’s just not a lot of optimism amongst Canada’s small business communities.”

Provincial Results: down across the board

Quebec returned to the top spot for small business confidence levels in the country at 68.7, despite dropping nearly four points in April. Nova Scotia fell seven, but still sits 12 points above the lagging national average. Saskatchewan also saw largest major confidence regression, falling 7.4 points to 54.6.


Province Confidence Index Change from March
Quebec 68.7 -3.9
Nova Scotia 67.9 -7.1
Prince Edward Island 65.3 -0.7
British Columbia 61.4 -4.5
New Brunswick 60.9 -1.6
Manitoba 59.9 -1.3
Ontario 56.9 -0.2
Alberta 54.7 -1.6
Saskatchewan 54.6 -7.4
Newfoundland & Labrador 50.8 -1.9

Industry results: agriculture and transportation buck negative trend
Transportation sector confidence jumped 5.1 points in April to 63.9, and agriculture saw a 2.2 point increase to 53.1 to mark the only bright spots in sectoral confidence. Despite the increase, agriculture remains the sector with the lowest confidence score. The remaining 11 industries all saw their confidence fall, anchored by professional and enterprise services’ 7.7 point drop.

Read the April Business Barometer®
April 2018 findings are based on 740 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through April 16. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.6 per cent 19 times in 20.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Kiara Morrissey, CFIB

About CFIB
CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every sector and region.