Business Barometer: confidence holds steady in February

February 22, 2018 – Small business confidence moved sideways in February, with CFIB’s Business Barometer Index registering 62.4, virtually the same as January’s 62.7.

The monthly index—based on a national survey which asks business owners how they expect their business to perform moving forward—is still slightly underperforming compared to the spring of 2017 and 2010-14 norms.

“While there was continued healthy optimism and improvement in much of the country, weak sentiment in Ontario and Alberta is continuing to put a drag on the national average,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB vice-president and chief economist. “We’re also seeing weaker than normal employment plans for this time of year, while businesses expecting to cut their full time positions remains high.”

Provincial Results: Quebec reaches post-recession high

Quebec’s optimism remains top in the country after a 2.6 point jump to 73.9, a post-recession high for the province. Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia saw major gains of 12.6 and 8.1 points respectively, while Alberta experienced the only drop in confidence, losing three points to fall to 56.3.
 Confidence Index Change from January

  Confidence Index Change from January
Quebec 73.9 +2.6
Nova Scotia 72.0 +8.1
British Columbia 69.5 +2.8
Prince Edward Island 65.0 +12.6
Manitoba 63.2 +1.6
New Brunswick 59.1 +2.2
Ontario 59.0 +0.3
Saskatchewan 56.8 +3.2
Newfoundland & Labrador 56.5 +4.7
Alberta 56.3 -3.1


Industry results: a mixed bag among industry confidence levels
The industry picture was mixed this month, with weaker outlooks in agriculture, natural resources and the financial and professional services sector offsetting stronger expectations in wholesale, information, manufacturing, and construction.

The hospitality sector also showed improvement this month, but its owners’ optimism level remains the weakest of any industry group.

Read the February Business Barometer®

February 2018 findings are based on 659 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through February 12. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.8 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.