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Small business confidence hits 10-month high

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Toronto, April 28, 2016 – Canada’s small business confidence rebounded nearly seven points in April, climbing to 59.2, its highest mark since last June.

“While we often see spikes in a single month of data, the size of this increase suggests the long-awaited confidence normalization has begun,” said Ted Mallett, Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) chief economist.

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 climbed three points in April, reaching 65.4, good for second highest in the country. Alberta finally stopped its four-month slide, increasing two points to 28.6, though still has the lowest confidence in the country by far. Saskatchewan saw a small improvement to 48.8. Manitoba held steady at 54.0. Ontario jumped five points to 62.6, while Quebec slipped three to 62.2, still above the national average. Newfoundland and Labrador fell to a new provincial record low at 46.4. Nova Scotia fell a point to 64.6. New Brunswick’s confidence increased four points to 57.5. Prince Edward Island rose to 70.8, good for best in the country.

The natural resources sector remains the weakest in the country, followed by agriculture and transportation. Hospitality is the most optimistic sector, followed by information, arts and recreation, and professional services.

“While confidence is up, it should be taken with a grain of salt,” added Mallett. “There is stability in the sectors, but a look at order books and accounts receivables still shows that business conditions remain fragile, which is part of the reason why hiring plans still aren’t as robust as we normally see this time of year.”

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 considered accurate to +\- 3.8 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.