Business Barometer®: Small business confidence rebounds in May

May 31, 2018 – Small business confidence is up this month after four consecutive months of lagging results at the beginning of the year. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)’s Business Barometer® index has risen to 62.5 in May, nearly six points over April’s results.

“The current confidence level isn’t back up to the last peak we observed in May 2017, but there is a noticeable improvement, especially in Ontario and PEI. The improved outlook could be a reflection of better weather in May over April, but we are always happy to see confidence go up, because it’s a sign of better business and economic conditions” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s Chief Economist. “However, sentiment in Saskatchewan, Newfoundland & Labrador and Alberta, which were hit hard by the resource price crunch of 2015-2016, continues to lag.”

Full-time staffing intentions are improved, but remain below springtime levels observed in previous years. Owners’ views on the general state of their business are quite positive, with 40 per cent saying they are in good shape compared to 9 per cent who are in bad shape.

An index level between 65 and 70 normally indicates that the economy is growing at its potential and a majority of owners expect their business’s performance to be stronger in the next year.

Provincial results: PEI and Ontario biggest confidence winners

Small business owners in PEI and Quebec reported the highest rates of optimism at 70.5 and 68.1. Ontario saw the biggest spike in confidence, up eight points to 64.7. The outlook in Saskatchewan, Newfoundland & Labrador and Alberta remains weak, with all three provinces continuing to experience drops in confidence this month.

Industry results: Resources and hospitality down

While the resources and hospitality industries reported weak confidence levels in May, they were countered with relative strength in financial services and transportation. Overall, eight out of 13 tracked industries reported higher confidence levels in May.

Read the May Business Barometer®

May 2018 findings are based on 618 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through May 18. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.9 per cent 19 times in 20.

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

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