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Nova Scotia small business confidence remains strong

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Halifax, 28 April 2016– Nova Scotia’s small business optimism saw little change in April. The current Business Barometer® Index of 64.6 is the third strongest in the country, despite a decrease of 1.2 per cent from March. Full-time hiring intentions are still positive with 19 per cent of owners planning to add staff, versus only 8 per cent expecting to cut back. A consistent 50 per cent of business owners say their businesses are in good shape—a good result by national standards.

“Despite the slight reduction, Nova Scotia’s level of confidence from the small business sector has remained strong and shows the provincial economy is growing to its potential.” said Nick Langley, Director of Provincial Affairs, Nova Scotia for CFIB. “The low Canadian dollar and the positive state of business are significant factors contributing to Nova Scotia’s strong small business confidence index, which has occurred despite challenging times within the national economy.” Langley added.

Canadian small business sentiment turned definitively upward in April. CFIB's Business Barometer® Index climbed nearly seven points in the month, rising to 59.2—its highest reading since June of last year.

Sentiment also rose in 6 of the 10 provinces—and notably in Alberta, where a two-point improvement in its index to 28.6 is hopefully a sign of that economy lifting itself off the floor.

Index scores show Prince Edward Island businesses are the most optimistic (70.8), followed by those in British Columbia (65.4) and Nova Scotia (64.6). A big jump in Ontario’s index to 62.6 also helped drive the improvement nationally. Index levels in Quebec (62.2) and New Brunswick (57.5) straddle the national average by only a few points, while conditions remain comparatively weaker in Newfoundland & Labrador (46.4), Manitoba (54.0) and Saskatchewan (48.8).

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.

April 2016 findings are based on 672 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through April 18. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.8 per cent 19 times in 20.

For more information, contact Nicholas Langley, Director of Provincial Affairs, 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.