Business Barometer ® CFIB survey shows national small business optimism continues on upward trend

Toronto, October 7, 2009 � Small business confidence survey findings from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), the Business Barometer® index continued its ascent to 68.7 in September. At the national level the index shows a 3.3 point rise over its August level and, the highest since the first quarter of 2007.

CFIB’s vice-president of research and chief economist Ted Mallett said, “For the first time since the recession began a year ago, improving business sentiment is percolating through the manufacturing sector. Furthermore, increased optimism is now translating into action with improved levels of capital investments planned by business owners in the coming months.” Mallett added, “These driving factors, along with stronger consumer confidence levels helping to push up optimism in the retail and personal services sectors — are signs that small businesses are leading the way to recovery.”

“But, with only 16 per cent of business owners planning to increase employment levels and well over half of respondents (59 per cent) saying their major cost burdens remain high taxes and regulatory burden and, 54 per cent of businesses citing high fuel and energy costs and insurance (50 per cent), we’re not yet seeing enough tangible evidence to safely declare a recovery,” Mallett concluded.

This index is available provincially and by industry.

Measured on a scale between 0 and 100, an index level above 50 means owners expecting their businesses’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. According to past results, index levels normally range between 65 and 75 when the economy is growing. The September 2009 findings are based on 1,130 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data are statistically accurate to +/- 2.9 per cent 19 times in 20.

About CFIB

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses. Encouraging the development of good public policy at the federal, provincial and municipal levels, CFIB represents more than 105,000 business owners, who collectively employ 1.25 million Canadians and account for $75 billion in GDP.