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Nova Scotia’s small business optimism continues to erode

Halifax, 30 June 2016—Nova Scotia’s small business optimism continued on its downwards path in June with its sixth consecutive drop. The Business Barometer Index dropped 10 points since December 2015 to reach 61.5 in June, just above the national average. Full-time hiring intentions are muted with 14 per cent of owners planning to add staff versus 13 per cent expecting to reduce staffing. The share of business owners saying their firms are in good shape has been constant in June compared to the previous month with 42 per cent of business owners saying their firms are in good shape, versus 11 per cent saying their firms are in poor shape.

Canada’s small businesses grew a little more confident in June. CFIB's Business Barometer® Index rose almost two points to hit 60.0. This level is still low by historical standards, but it is the highest reading in just over a year.

Overall, business owners posted improvements in 7 of 10 provinces. Leading the pack with an index score of 69.3 are those in British Columbia, followed closely by the 68.0 from Prince Edward Island businesses. Provinces at the other end of spectrum—Alberta (42.5), Newfoundland and Labrador (45.8) and Saskatchewan (54.8)—all registered much-welcome improvements this month. Optimism leapt in New Brunswick (64.9) and there were modest improvements in Quebec (61.6) and Manitoba (57.8). Declines in sentiment in Ontario and Nova Scotia (both at 61.5) helped restrain 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.

June 2016 findings are based on 743 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through June 20. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.6 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.

June 30, 2016

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