After two months of recovery, SME confidence fell once again, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). The Business Barometer index lost three and a half points from February to settle at 62.9.
Although they are close to those observed at the end of 2012, the March results show signs of concern on the part of SME owners surveyed for this poll. While confidence seemed to return in the early part of 2013, small and medium enterprises are again less confident. The economic environment has much to do with it because Canada has been facing sluggish growth for over a year.
Saskatchewan fully confident
Entrepreneurs in Saskatchewan (71.5) and in Newfoundland and Labrador (6.4) are the most optimistic. Some other provinces have a confidence level above average, such as Alberta (66.7), Quebec (66.4) and British Columbia (65.7). Conversely, Ontario (61.9), New Brunswick (60.4), Nova Scotia (60.4) and Prince Edward Island (56.4) show a below average confidence level.
The health of the companies concerned
According to other information collected, 27% of entrepreneurs expect to hire additional full time staff in the coming months. This is an encouraging sign of confidence in the future, but it needs to be tempered. 38% of those surveyed believe that their company is in good health. This is a low level and a lower result than that obtained in 2012 which stood at around 40% and higher. Employers are less optimistic, with 14% considering that their company’s situation is poor.
As a reminder, the Business Barometer index is measured on a scale of 1 to 100. In general, results in a period of economic growth are between 65 and 70.