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Small business optimism in N.L. drops ahead of budget

CFIB
CFIB

Small businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador are feeling the pinch since the last provincial budget, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

The organization released its latest Business Barometer survey results this morning, showing small business optimism here dropped from 47.7 to 42.2 from December 2016 to March 2017. Nationally, the index stayed at 62.9.

That makes Newfoundland and Labrador’s small business owners by far the least optimistic of all Canadian provinces. The second-least optimistic are in Alberta, with an index of 55.5.

“Growth in the economy continues to be hindered as many small business owners find it difficult due to the much higher taxes and fees placed on them and their customers in the last budget,” Vaughn Hammond, the CFIB’s director of provincial affairs in the province, said in a news release. “Small business owners are hoping for good news in next week’s provincial budget, which will be a clear signal of government’s intent to address its fiscal issue.”

The CFIB says just eight per cent of the survey respondents plan to add full-time staff, and 30 per cent expect they will cut staff in the next few months. Thirty-two per cent said the general state of the economy was “good” in March, with 21 per cent calling it “bad.”

About half (49 per cent) said insufficient domestic demand was the biggest challenge small firms in this province face. An overwhelming 81 per cent say tax and regulatory costs are the biggest cost constraint.

The province will deliver its next budget on April 6.

 

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