Business Barometer®: Confidence stumbles in October

Toronto, October 27, 2016 – Canada’s small business confidence dropped another point in October, falling for the second straight month to 57.7 according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business’s Business Barometer® Index.

“While the overall results were relatively stable this month, there are a few underlying indicators to be keeping an eye on,” said Ted Mallet, CFIB chief-economist. “Employment is an area of concern: while employment plans tend to experience seasonal fluctuation, this October’s downward turn was sharper than we have seen in the past. Investment plans have also dropped to a post-recession low.”

On a scale between 0 and 100, an index above 50 means owners expecting their business’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. One normally sees an index level of between 65 and 70 when the economy is growing at its potential.

British Columbia bounced back from September, gaining two full points to reach 65.5. Alberta dropped six points to 41.5, while Saskatchewan picked up one point to hit 55.1. Manitoba and Ontario held steady at 55.6 and 60.4 respectively. Quebec took a step back this month, falling two points to 64.8. New Brunswick dropped another three points to 56.1, while Nova Scotia climbed four points to reach 65.5. Prince Edward Island held steady at 65.8, and Newfoundland and Labrador saw a second straight month of improved optimism, gaining three points to reach 44.4.

Businesses in the information, arts and recreation sectors were the most upbeat, followed by financial services and real estate. The transportation, hospitality and professional services sectors were among the weakest.

The general state of business health remained stable, as did price and wage expectations.

October 2016 findings are based on 651 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through October 17. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.8 per cent 19 times in 20.

Read the October Business Barometer®.

To arrange an interview with Ted Mallett, please contact Kiara Morrissey at 416-222-8022, 647-464-2814 or

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