Business confidence across the province dipped slightly in January compared with one month prior, but British Columbian entrepreneurs still remain the most optimistic in the country.
B.C.’s confidence fell by 0.8 points to 71.8 in January, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business announced in its latest Business Barometer report. This still remains one of the best ratings the province has shown in more than two years and is well above the national average of 64.0.
The monthly survey found that 23% of owners plan to hire full-time employees in the next few months, while 6% plan to reduce their staff levels. B.C. small business owners cite insufficient domestic demand as their biggest limitations to sales or production growth, followed by a shortage of skilled labour. The biggest cost constraints for entrepreneurs in the province were reported to be tax and regulatory costs, fuel and energy costs, and wage costs.
Across the country, the Business Barometer index increased by 1.7 points from 62.3 in December.
“The gain in this month’s Barometer is really fueled by Ontario, which is reporting optimism levels above the national average,” said CFIB vice-president and chief economist Ted Mallett.
“When the Business Barometer is anywhere between 65 and 70, that means the economy’s growing at its potential. This month, it looks like we’re getting closer.”
Newfoundland and Labrador reported the second-highest confidence in the country at 68.1. Business owners in Quebec were the least confident (56.2).
By Emma Crawford, Business in Vancouver
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