Business Barometer®: Small business regains lost confidence in August

August 30, 2018 – After a major drop amid trade tensions in July, small business confidence rebounded to 61.6 this month, gaining 4.8 index points over last month’s Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) Business Barometer®.

“It seems businesses across most of the country are breathing a bit easier this month,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s vice president and chief economist. “Even markets that have been lagging since the resource price crunch of 2015 and 2016, like Saskatchewan and Newfoundland & Labrador, are feeling more optimistic.” 

Forty-four per cent of owners reported that their business is in good shape, compared to 10 per cent who say they are in bad shape. Full-time employment plans remained the same as last month’s, with 17 per cent of owners expecting to add staff compared to 12 per cent who plan to cut back in the next three or four months.

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: Alberta and BC least optimistic provinces

British Columbia (55.9) and Alberta (53.9) were the only provinces to report drops in confidence, making them the least optimistic regions this month. Saskatchewan and Newfoundland & Labrador experienced the greatest confidence gains this month to 57.9 and 56.5 respectively. Prince Edward Island (74.0) and Quebec (71.8) remained the most confident provinces in the country. Nova Scotia and Manitoba both reported confidence levels above the national average. New Brunswick and Ontario saw gains, but trailed the national index level. 

Industry results: Balanced outlook

Retail and natural resources experienced the biggest confidence gains this month, while financial services, transportation and construction experienced the greatest losses. Health services and professional services were the most optimistic industries, whereas agriculture and natural resources were the least optimistic. Overall, sentiment rose in seven sectors and fell in six.

Read the August Business Barometer®

August 2018 findings are based on 768 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through August 20. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.5 per cent 19 times in 20.

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

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