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Nova Scotia business optimism sags again despite some positive conditions

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Halifax, 28 July 2016— Nova Scotia’s Business Barometer Index dropped another three points in July to 58.5, which is close to levels seen in mid-2014. Full-time hiring intentions are muted, with 15 per cent of owners planning to add staff versus 10 per cent expecting to reduce staffing. The share of business owners saying their firms are in good shape has decreased also in July and now currently only represent 31 per cent of firms responding.

Canada’s small business owners were a little less confident in July according to CFIB’s latest Business Barometer®. The index of optimism fell back to 57.6 this month, from 60.0—the 13-month high recorded in June. The recovery from cyclical lows in small business confidence reached in early 2016, therefore, remains choppy.

“Business owners in the Maritimes are often slightly more buoyant coming into the summer months so these kind of declines indicate a somewhat deeper malaise,” Jordi Morgan, CFIB VP, Atlantic commented. “Given a low Canadian dollar, many exporters and tourism related firms are operating in more positive conditions, so it’s interesting we are not seeing higher levels of optimism throughout the region.”

Index declines were seen this month in 6 of 10 provinces, including; British Columbia (66.4), New Brunswick (63.3), Ontario (61.2), Nova Scotia (58.5), Manitoba (56.4) and Saskatchewan (51.1). Notable improvements in Quebec (64.1), Newfoundland & Labrador (50.0), Alberta (46.7) and Prince Edward Island (68.8) helped temper the drop in the national average.

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

July 2016 findings are based on 642 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through July 19. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.9 per cent 19 times in 20.

For more information, contact Jordi Morgan, Vice-president Atlantic, at 902-420-1997 or Ted Mallett, Chief Economist and Vice-president at 416-222-8022.

Business Barometer is a monthly publication of the CFIB and is a registered trademark. 

For further information, the Monthly Business Barometer Index Report can be viewed here.