CFIB Business Barometer � National small business confidence in �low gear�

Toronto, October 6, 2010 – Optimism among Canada’s small- and medium-sized business owners fell in September, continuing a declining trend since May. CFIB’s Business Barometer� index fell more than a full point to 63.6, from August’s mediocre level of 64.9.

“The latest result suggests the economy is truly kicking into low gear,” explained CFIB vice-president and chief economist, Ted Mallett. “This marks the fourth monthly decline in a row, and the fifth since March 2010’s post-recession high of 69.9.”

Dropping six points to below 60, Ontario played the largest role in carrying the national score lower. Ontario small business confidence is now at its lowest since June 2009. Business owners in Newfoundland and Labrador are the most optimistic, with an index score of 69.1, while those in New Brunswick, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Alberta and Saskatchewan are closely grouped in the 65 to 67 range.

Mallett went on to say that muted optimism has more to do with business owners’ forward perspectives than the recent past. “There is virtual balance between owners reporting better or worse performance in the past three or four months,” he said.

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 2010 findings are based on 884 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.3 per cent 19 times in 20.

About CFIB

As Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses, CFIB is Powered by EntrepreneursTM. Established in 1971, CFIB takes direction from more than 107,000 members in every sector nationwide, giving independent business a strong and influential voice at all levels of government and helping to grow the economy.