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CFIB survey shows small business confidence dropped in November

TORONTO - Canada's small and medium-sized businesses were in a less optimistic mood in November compared to October, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

The CFIB's monthly business barometer index slipped to 62.9 out of 100 in November, down from 65.6 in October.

Measured on a scale of 0 to 100, an index above 50 means owners expecting their businesses' performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting a weaker performance.

Index levels normally range between 65 and 70 when the economy is growing at its potential.

Small business owners in Newfoundland and Labrador remain the most optimistic in the country, with an index of 74.1, followed by British Columbia at 67.1, Alberta at 68.3, Saskatchewan at 66.4 and Ontario at 63.

The New Brunswick index is 61.4 and it is 61.3 in Manitoba, 60.8 in Nova Scotia, 60.2 in Quebec and the lone province below the 50 mark is Prince Edward Island at 52.1.

"Small business confidence took a step backward last month, although it's still above the levels we observed in the June-through-September period," said Ted Mallett, CFIB's chief economist and vice-president.

"The results suggest that Canada's economy continues to grow at a modest pace."

Mallet said much of the decline in the overall average can be explained by "unusually low confidence in natural resources, manufacturing and business services."

On the other hand, said Mallett, the consumer-facing side of the small business sector looks relatively upbeat, with retail, hospitality and personal services all showing above-average confidence.

The November findings are based on 981 responses in a random sample of CFIB members replying to a controlled-access web survey. Findings are deemed accurate to plus or minus 3.1 per cent, 19 times in 20.


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