April 2017 SME business outlook survey results
Canada’s small business optimism is on the rise again in April. CFIB’s monthly Business Barometer Index gained a point and a half to finish the month at 64.4—its best level since November 2014. The Index is also less than a point from its 2010-14 average, which suggests that while lingering effects of the oil price shock persist in some regions, business expectations are readjusting to a new set of economic drivers.
On a scale between 0 and 100, an index above 50 means owners expecting their business’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. One normally sees an index level of between 65 and 70 when the economy is growing at its potential.
April’s national gains were supported mostly by strong optimism growth in Ontario (68.7), British Columbia (67.1) and continuing improvements in business sentiment in Alberta (57.9). Relative weakness, however, persists in Newfoundland & Labrador (43.8) and Saskatchewan (55.1), which have both seen little improvement in optimism levels for a number of months. There is broad uniformity, though, in the remaining provinces, where index levels cluster around the mid-60s, suggesting general robustness to the business outlook.
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