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Small business confidence up, industry optimism down in November


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December 5, 2017 by Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses

Small businesses are optimistic, but confidence in the construction industry remains below the national average, according to the November Business Barometer Index by the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB).

The monthly index, based on a national survey of business owners’ performance expectations, highlights stagnancies, pain points and areas of growth for Canadian businesses across a variety of industries.

Despite a small jump of 0.7 points to 54.9, optimism in the construction industry sat eight per cent below the national average in November, and full-time hiring intention dipped to 49 per cent below.

An index of 50 or more points indicates strong performance expectations in the next year, according to the CFIB.

The majority of the 264 construction-industry respondents – 46 per cent – attributed limitations in sales or production growth to a shortage of skilled labour, followed by insufficient domestic demand (37 per cent) and management skills/time constraints (28 per cent), in addition to a shortage of working capital and unskilled/semi-skilled labour, foreign competition and limited space.

CFIB, small business, construction

Optimism in the construction industry peaked in 2011 with approximately 70 points.
Photo Credit: CFIB Economics

Taxes and regulations were reported as the primary cost constraint for 69 per cent of respondents, while 64 per cent reported fuel/energy, followed by wages (54 per cent) and insurance (51 per cent). Other cost constraints included banking, product inputs, capital equipment/technology, borrowing, foreign currencies and occupancy.

The construction industry isn’t alone – small business confidence in agriculture, manufacturing, retail, transportation, information/arts/recreation, health and educational services, hospitality and personal services also ranked below the national average.

Conversely to construction, optimism in the manufacturing industry dropped 0.7 points, while agriculture jumped 1.7 points. Natural resources experienced a 4.5-point jump, topping out at 4.1 points above the national average.

Transportation, professional and enterprise services and financial/insurance/real estate also experienced boost in confidence in November, with professional and enterprise services jumping 9.5 points.

SOURCE: CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES (CFIB)


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