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Business Barometer®: Newfoundland and Labrador small business optimism declines in the first quarter

St. John’s, March 30, 2017 – According to the latest Business Barometer survey results released by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), small business optimism in Newfoundland and Labrador dropped in the first quarter of 2017. The provincial Business Barometer Index reached 42.2 in March 2017 compared to 47.7 in December 2016. 

“Growth in the economy continues to be hindered as many small business owners find it difficult due to the much higher taxes and fees placed on them and their customers in the last budget,” says Vaughn Hammond, Director of provincial affairs in Newfoundland and Labrador. “Small business owners are hoping for good news in next week’s provincial budget, which will be a clear signal of government’s intent to address its fiscal issue.” 

A mere eight per cent of respondents are planning to add full-time staff, while 30 per cent expect to cut staff in the next three months. In terms of their view about the general state of the economy, 32 per cent of entrepreneurs characterized it as “good” in March, while 21 per cent of respondents described it as “bad”. 

Insufficient domestic demand was identified by 49 per cent of respondents as the biggest challenge for small firms in Newfoundland and Labrador. Eighty-one per cent consider tax and regulatory costs to be the largest cost constraint. 

The national Business Barometer Index held steady in March (62.9). Across Canada, entrepreneurs in Nova Scotia (65.9) were the most optimistic about the economy and the future prospects for their business, followed by Quebec (65.7), Ontario (65.6), British Columbia (64.9), Manitoba (64.5), New Brunswick (63.8), Prince Edward Island (58.6), Saskatchewan (56.3), Alberta (55.5), and Newfoundland and Labrador (42.2). 

More details about the Business Barometer are available at  To arrange an interview with Chief Economist, Ted Mallett, about the national results, please call 1-416-222-8022.  To speak with Vaughn Hammond, please call 753-7745. 

About the Business Barometer: Measured on a scale of 0 and 100, an index level above 50 means owners expecting their businesses’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance.  According to past results, index levels normally range between 65 and 75 when the economy is growing at its potential. March 2017 findings are based on 730 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through March 20. Findings are considered accurate to +/- 3.6 per cent 19 times in 20. 

About CFIB: As Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses, CFIB is Powered by Entrepreneurs™.  Established in 1971, CFIB takes direction from more than 109,000 members in every sector nationwide, including 2,000 in Newfoundland and Labrador, giving independent business a strong and influential voice at all levels of government and helping to grow the economy.

March 30, 2017

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