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Business Barometer, November 2021

November 2021 SME business outlook

Canada's small business confidence over the short and long-term improved slightly in November. Optimism still hasn't recouped the September sharp decline, but it's moving in the right direction.

CFIB’s Business Barometer® Short-term Index, which is based on 3-month forward expectations for business performance, increased 4.3 points to 49.8. The long-term optimism index which is based on 12-month outlook gained 1.7 points and reached 62.2.  

Measured on a scale between 0 and 100, an index above 50 means owners expecting their business’s performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance.

The provincial outlook is mitigated with some provinces being more optimistic than in October while others being slightly more negative about their future outcomes. Quebec has improved the most over the short term (up 9 points) and over the long term (up 7 points). Ontario also gained in optimism—4.5 points over the next 3 months and about 2 points over the next 12 months. NL and Alberta are at the opposite end of the spectrum on both outlooks. 
Sectoral viewpoints both over the short-term and long-term are also mixed. Not surprisingly, the retail sector had the most gain in confidence with almost 7 points during the pre-holidays shopping season. On the other hand, hospitality had the most significant drop over the short term. 
Among the other business indicators, the most notable change is seen in the planned price increase for the next year which has reached another all-times high at 4.3%. Wage increases also gained ground to 3.1% - which is the highest for this indicator as well. 

Investment plans for the next year are strongest in the information and communication area with 30% of businesses planning to spend on such assets. 


Andreea Bourgeois, Senior Analyst, [email protected]
Simon Gaudreault, Vice-president, National Research, [email protected]

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Topics in this Article: Economic Indicators

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