Business Barometer®: Businesses project unprecedented price and wage growth

Toronto, November 29, 2021 – Small businesses project unprecedented price and wage increases over the next 12 months, according to the latest Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) Business Barometer®. Overall, small business optimism is on the upswing, but it has not regained the ground it lost in September—the three-month index increased 4.3 points to 49.8, while the 12-month outlook gained 1.7 points to 62.2.

“We have never observed price and wage increase plans at this level in the monthly Barometer’s 12-year history,” said Andreea Bourgeois, Senior Research Analyst at CFIB. “This corresponds with higher shares of businesses saying that supply-chain issues and labour shortages are the biggest factors limiting their sales and production growth as well as a general stalling in businesses returning to pre-pandemic levels of sales.”

The share of businesses reporting a shortage of input products is nearly seven times the average of the 36 months immediately before the pandemic, while the share reporting product distribution constraints is close to three times higher. The shares reporting labour shortages (un/semi-skilled labour and skilled labour) are also significantly higher than in pre-pandemic years, a period when labour was already in short supply.

Price and wage increase plans show no sign of slowing down
Price increase plans over the next 12 months reached 4.3 per cent in November, while wage plans reached 3.1 per cent, a 0.6 percentage point increase since last month and the highest level recorded since CFIB started publishing its Monthly Business Barometer in 2009.

Businesses in the retail sector saw the biggest increase in short-term optimism (+6.6 index points), but were overall low for the holiday shopping season at 52.7, while hospitality businesses saw the biggest drop and the lowest overall optimism levels (-4.3 index points to 36.3), suggesting ongoing uncertainty for both sectors.

“Businesses already have their eye on the lean post-holiday months,” added Simon Gaudreault, Vice-President of National Research at CFIB. “New challenges on the supply front and ongoing staffing issues are likely to eat into many businesses’ profit margins in the coming months.”

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB

November Business Barometer®: November findings are based on 882 responses from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received from November 2 to 18. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.3 per cent 19 times in 20.

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 95,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at