Canadian Plastics

Canadian small business confidence up slightly in June, CFIB survey says

Small business confidence rose slightly in June to 54.6 points on the Canadian Federation of Independent Business Business Barometer, two points higher than May’s reading but still well below historical norms.

June 29, 2020   Canadian Plastics

Led by Nova Scotia, small business confidence rose slightly in June to 54.6 points on the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) Business Barometer, two points higher than May’s reading.

But the June reading was still well below historical norms.

“Despite more of the economy reopening, challenging operating conditions are preventing small businesses from being reliably profitable and sentiment is only cautiously improving,” Ted Mallett, CFIB’s vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “Businesses are operating at only 58% of capacity on average (up 9% from May), and many fear future COVID-19 outbreaks could renew closures and interruptions.”

An index level nearer to 65 indicates that the economy is growing at its potential.


Manufacturing confidence rose 3.4 points to 52.3. Business health was good for 20% of respondents but bad for 33%. Hiring was cited for 9% over the next three months, but 38% will cut staffing. Companies are operating at an average 57.8%, a 3.4% gain over May’s reading.

In total, 39% of businesses said they were in bad shape while 19% were in good shape, representing slight improvements over May.

The top two limits to sales or production growth were insufficient domestic demand (50%) and a shortage of skilled labour (28%). Leading major cost constraints were wages (51%), taxes and regulations (49%) and insurance (48%).

Nova Scotia had the highest optimism level in the country (62.3), followed by PEI (60.9). Quebec had the lowest optimism level (38.1) followed by New Brunswick (46.6). BC (53.6) and Ontario (54) posted results near the national average, while Manitoba (55.3), Alberta (55.7), Newfoundland and Labrador (58.3) and Saskatchewan (59.1) modestly exceeded it.

The wholesale and the financial services sectors had the highest optimism levels (61.2 and 60.6 index points respectively), and were the only sectors to top 60 index points. The natural resources sector posted the lowest sectoral optimism level at 40 index points.

All other sectors ranked within five points of the national average.

The June findings are based on 919 responses from June 2-15 from a random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.2% 19 times in 20.

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