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CME reports “glimmer of hope” in recent Business Conditions Survey


April 16, 2009
By Alyssa Dalton


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OTTAWA, Ont. – It’s not a signal that the recession is over, but more Canadian manufacturers and exporters are optimistic about business conditions over the next three months than they have been since the beginning of 2009, according to the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters’ March Business Conditions Survey.

"It’s a glimmer of hope in an otherwise bleak outlook," said CME
president Jayson Myers in response to the survey results. "I believe
the real economic impacts are still to be felt, but it is encouraging
news that the economic decline appears to be slowing."

More than 700 companies participated in the survey conducted during the
first two weeks of March. Forty-nine percent of firms expect orders to
decrease between March and June, down seven percentage points from
February’s figure of 56 percent. And there’s some good news for job
seekers – 13 percent of companies expect to increase employment over
the next three months, up from 11 percent in February. The number of
firms who are planning layoffs also shrunk since February, decreasing
from 45 to 42 percent.

Despite the sliver of good news in terms of sales and employment, the
credit crunch is still an issue for all manufacturers and exporters,
with 59 percent of businesses reporting difficulties accessing adequate
levels of financing, including working capital, extending lines of
credit and accessing financing for new technologies and product
development.

"Accessing credit continues to be a major hurdle for companies of all
sizes to overcome during this major economic downturn," Myers added.
"We need to put pieces of the credit puzzle together quickly or we will
see more companies, even very innovative and productive companies,
laying off more workers and going out of business…If companies cannot
access credit soon, the financial meltdown could translate into a
Canadian industrial meltdown."
To view the survey results, visit www.cme-mec.ca.