National small business confidence at its highest in five years: survey

Staff ~ The Telegram
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Index for Newfoundland and Labrador down slightly

Business confidence among Canada's small and medium-sized businesses continues to build on the momentum that has thus far characterized 2010, according to the latest business confidence survey findings from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
The CFIB says the Business Barometer® index rose to 69.9 in March - its highest level in half a decade.
The index for Newfoundland and Labrador is 64.6, which is down slightly from 67.6 in February; 54 per cent of business owners in the province say the overall state of business is good, while 42 per cent of them say it is satisfactory; 67 per cent of business owners say their greatest cost concern is wages.
Ted Mallett, CFIB's vice-president of research and chief economist, says that this level of optimism is consistent with a healthy, sustained economic growth rate of about four per cent, which suggests Canada's strong economic rebound to date will continue.
"In a truly rare development, business confidence is highest in the retail sector (72.9), followed closely by wholesale (72.5) - suggesting that the consumer economy is powering forward and being spurred by low interest rates," explained Mallett, adding that "manufacturers (71.8) are in positive stead despite a spirited loonie, and the rebound of confidence in the natural resources sector will be music to the ears of western economies."
Although the farming and hospitality sectors are reporting lower than average levels of optimism, their seasonal dependence means that yearly performance will not be defined until the mid part of 2010.
This index is available provincially and by industry. Results and the full report are available at: http://www.cfib-fcei.ca/english/barometer and www.cfib-fcei.ca/cfib-documents/Canada-BarometerHistory.xls.

Organizations: Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Canada-BarometerHistory.xls

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

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