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Business Barometer, May 2022

May 2022 small business outlook

Canada's small business confidence over the short and long-term dropped slightly in May.

CFIB’s Business Barometer® Short-term Index, which is based on 3-month forward expectations for business performance, declined to 58.8, a monthly drop of almost two points. The long-term optimism index, which is based on a 12-month outlook, fell three points to 61.6.

Measured on a scale between 0 and 100, an index above 50 means owners expecting their business’s performance to be stronger over the next three or 12 months outnumber those expecting weaker performance. An index level near 65 normally indicates that the economy is growing at its potential.

Provincial Outlook 
Short-term business confidence has seen some improvements in most provinces, except Ontario which has registered a large decline (-5.6 points) and Quebec. Optimism is somewhat mitigated over the long term. Ontario and Nova Scotia have seen the largest decreases (3.9 and 3.6 points respectively), followed by BC and Quebec. 

Sectoral outlook
The sectoral short-term confidence is mixed. While some are seeing strong improvements such as the hospitality sector, others are registering declines in business expectations (e.g., retail sector). Long term expectations are weaker for most sectors. 

Other business indicators
Among the other business indicators, almost all have seen some improvements. Full time hiring plans are positive, the state of business is also positive and better than in previous months. Price plans are still extremely high but have softened somewhat in May. The major limitation on business growth this month is labour shortages, while the major cost constraint is still fuel and energy prices. 

May findings are based on 708 responses from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received from May 3 to the 13. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.7 per cent 19 times in 20. Every new month, the entire series of indicators is recalculated for the previous month to include all survey responses received in that previous month. 


Andreea Bourgeois, Director, Economics, [email protected]
Simon Gaudreault, Vice-president, Research and Chief Economist, [email protected]

May 26, 2022

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Topics in this Article: Economic Indicators