Business Optimism remains sluggish; small businesses plan to increase wages in early 2018, CFIB

by Morinville News Staff

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says business confidence remains muted across much of the country headed into the new year.

The CFIB’s latest Business Barometer survey, released Thursday, indicates small business optimism crept up in December to 59.7 (out of 100), something the organization says is well below its 12-month peak in May of 66.0. CFIB says an index level of 65 to 70 is typical when the economy is growing at its potential.

Alberta registered 60.1 in December.

“Despite a growing economy, the concern over rising wages and taxes have many small businesses nervous about what the first few months of 2018 holds for them,” said Ted Mallett, Vice-President and Chief Economist at CFIB.

The survey shows retail and hospitality sectors are most pessimistic heading into 2018 with business owners in the retail sector at 53.7 and hospitality at 44.5. Both industries saw big declines in December, according to the survey, despite holiday shopping and dining.

But it is not all gloom. The financial services, insurance and real estate sector saw the largest increase with a 6.1 per cent boost in December.

The survey also shows a big jump in short-term wage expectations: over the next three months, small businesses plan to increase wages by 2.7 per cent, a figure CFIB says is the highest reading recorded since their survey was initiated in 2009.

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