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Business Barometer, June 2019

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June 2019 SME business outlook survey results


June has shaped up to be a pretty positive month for Canada’s small and mid-sized business owners. CFIB’s Business Barometer® Index is up another two points, following a three-point improvement in May, to reach 61.5 this month. Although this is the highest reading of optimism since last August, there is still some distance to go before it can be considered fully back to health. In 2014, before the energy price crunch, the index was routinely above 65.  

The latest improvement in confidence has been broadly based, improving in 9 of 10 provinces. Owners in Prince Edward Island (68.4) and Quebec (67.6) remain the country’s most optimistic by a wide margin, followed by those in Nova Scotia (63.9) and Ontario (62.6), which showed relatively little movement from May’s results. 

Although the Prairie region is still underperforming, it shows the biggest improvements this month with business owners in Alberta (59.0), Manitoba (55.4) and Saskatchewan (54.5) each seeing multi-point gains. New Brunswick improved to 57.2, but there was relatively little upward momentum in Newfoundland and Labrador (50.0) and British Columbia (53.8)—the provinces with the least upbeat business owners. 

The industry mix is positive for June and balanced across most sectors, which suggests a firming of perspectives that should bode well for long-term investment plans. There are still signs of caution, however. The 18 per cent of business owners expecting to add full-time staff is fairly light for this time of year, but it is counteracted by a sharp drop (to 10 per cent) in the number expecting to cut back. The overall state of business health, capital investment plans, pricing and wage plans, as well as new orders and accounts receivables are all near their long-term norms.


Ted Mallett, vice-president & chief economist, 416 222-8022
Andreea Bourgeois, senior analyst, 506 855-2526
Simon Gaudreault, senior director, national research, 514 861-3234