CFIB Business Barometer® National small business confidence continues downward drift

Toronto, August 4, 2010 – Optimism among Canada’s small- and medium-sized business owners has experienced its third decline in the past four months. According to the latest business confidence survey findings from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), the Business Barometer� index fell modestly to 65.7 in July, compared to 66.4 in June.

“The estimates for July have fallen in eight of 13 industry groupings and seven out of 10 provinces, suggesting the economy is settling into a phase of slower growth,” explained CFIB vice-president and chief economist, Ted Mallett, adding that “business owners are likely betting on higher interest rates and slower growth into the future.”

Regionally, patterns of relative strength and weakness are continuing through July. Strength is concentrated in Newfoundland & Labrador and British Columbia, with Barometer index levels of 71.9 and 70.3 respectively. New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Alberta are closely packed in the 65 to 68 range, while business owner optimism levels in Manitoba, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are a few points below the national average.

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 July 2010 findings are based on 1,022 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.1 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.