New Brunswick small business confidence gap continues to grow

Tribune-Post Staff
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New Brunswick’s Business Barometer index unfortunately lost ground in November, settling in at 55.9, which is now fully 10 points below the national average. Optimism has been trending downwards in the province for the better part of two years. Hiring intentions also turned more negative, with about 13 per cent of respondents planning to add staff and 19 per cent expecting to shed staff within the next few months.

November shaped up to be a reasonably positive month for Canadian small businesses. CFIB's Business Barometer® Index gained almost a full point, posting a 65.9 this month over October's 65.0. It is also the second highest reading of 2013 after February's 66.2

“This province has been struggling a bit to find its economic footing,” said Richard Dunn, CFIB’s senior policy analyst for New Brunswick. “It will be interesting to see if gearing up for next year’s provincial election will give business confidence a boost.”

Optimism remains strongest in Newfoundland and Labrador (74.7), although we see gains in all four Western Provinces—particularly in British Columbia (72.3). Ontario businesses are showing slightly less optimism, but with an index tracking still very close to the national average. The problem areas continue to be Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, each with index levels at least 10 points below national norms. 

To view the full report, please visit http://cfib.ca/a5018e.

Measured on a scale between 0 and 100, an index level above 50 means owners expecting their business’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. An index level of between 65 and 70 means the economy is growing at its potential.

November 2013 findings are based on 1,141 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 2.9 per cent 19 times in 20.

Geographic location: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, British Columbia Ontario Quebec Prince Edward Island

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