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PEI business optimism shows little change in January

Charlottetown, 26 January 2017— Business optimism in Prince Edward Island remained about the same in January; the index finished the month at 64.6. Short-term hiring plans are mostly stable with the majority of business owners planning neither increases nor decreases in employment (73 per cent).  About one-in-five respondents (18 per cent) foresee hiring, while only nine per cent plan on laying off people. One-in-two business owners say their firms are in good health and only five per cent report that their firms are in poor health.

Across Canada, although small business optimism has stepped back a little in January from December readings, it is still showing more buoyancy than what we had seen through most of 2015 and 2016. CFIB's Business Barometer index now stands at 60.1.

Regionally, however, conditions are remaining pretty consistent. Quebec business owners are the nation's most optimistic, with an index at 68.6. Owners in Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta and Saskatchewan are considerably less upbeat, but the gap relative to the rest of the country is narrowing. Index levels in the remaining provinces are reasonably positive and tightly bunched in the mid-60s range.

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.

January 2017 findings are based on 782 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through January 16. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.5 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.

January 26, 2017

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