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Slow and steady progress for SME confidence in Nova Scotia

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Halifax, 27 April 2017– Optimism among Nova Scotia's small business owners has continued on an incremental and mostly consistent upward path. The Business Barometer Index has inched up slightly in April reaching 66.3, among the top readings in the country. Short-term employment plans are relatively noncommittal, however, with only 13 per cent looking to hire while 5 per cent planning to decrease employment. About 53 per cent business owners are reporting their firms are in good shape while 17 per cent say their firms are in bad shape.

“Nova Scotia’s SMEs have been showing a steady increase in optimism over the last several months,” said Jordi Morgan, CFIB’s Atlantic VP. “We want today’s provincial budget to send a strong, positive signal to Nova Scotia’s SMEs and we’ll be watching business confidence closely for continuing signs of business health.”

Canada's small business optimism is on the rise again in April. CFIB's monthly Business Barometer Index gained a point and a half to finish the month at 64.4—its best level since November 2014. The Index is also less than a point from its 2010-14 average, which suggests that while lingering effects of the oil price shock persist in some regions, business expectations are readjusting to a new set of economic drivers.

April's national gains were supported mostly by strong optimism growth in Ontario (68.7), British Columbia (67.1) and continuing improvements in business sentiment in Alberta (57.9). Relative weakness, however, persists in Newfoundland & Labrador (43.8) and Saskatchewan (55.1), which have both seen little improvement in optimism levels for a number of months. There is broad uniformity, though, in the remaining provinces, where index levels cluster around the mid-60s, suggesting general robustness to the business outlook.

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 2017 findings are based on 653 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through April 16. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.8 per cent 19 times in 20.

To arrange an interview with Jordi Morgan, please contact Ryan Richard at 902-420-1997 or email [email protected].

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