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Small business confidence dips in May

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Toronto, May 26, 2016 – The weather may be starting to warm up, but small business confidence remains cool with May seeing a one-point drop in the Canadian Federation of Independent Business’s (CFIB) Business Barometer® to 58.2.

“We saw a small claw-back of the gains made last month, but we’re still much-improved from the first three months of the year,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB chief economist. “Hiring plans are looking good for the time of year; however, the number of businesses planning to cut full-time staffing remains elevated, and there are still concerns about the state of order books and accounts receivables.”

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

British Columbia gained two points in May, hitting 67.1. Alberta registered its second consecutive increase, climbing six points to 34.6, showing improvement, but still having the lowest score in the country. Saskatchewan rose to 51.5. Manitoba jumped to 57.7. Ontario continued its upward trend, gaining three points to reach 65.8, its best score in more than a year, while Quebec saw its third month of decline in a row, falling two points to 60.4. Newfoundland and Labrador fell to 44.6. Nova Scotia slipped to 63.9. New Brunswick’s confidence levels held steady at 57.0. Prince Edward Island leads the country for the second month in a row, jumping five points to 75.0.

The natural resources sector continues to be the weakest in the country, followed by transportation and construction. Hospitality remains the most optimistic sector followed by health and education services and manufacturing.

May, 2016 findings are based on 684 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through May 16. Findings are considered accurate to +\- 3.7 per cent 19 times in 20.

To arrange an interview with Ted Mallett please contact Ryan Mallough at 416-222-8022, 647-464-2814 or [email protected].

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.