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Small, mid-sized businesses optimistic, but reserved: CFIB


February 3, 2012
By The Canadian Press

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Canadian small and mid-sized businesses continue to feel optimistic, but at a reserved pace, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

The CFIB’s business barometer index ended January at 65.2 – slightly above the 65 in December – but not enough to register as a statistically significant movement.

The East-West divide on economic performance continues.

The CFIB says Alberta businesses are the most optimistic with a healthy index of 73.3, and all four Western provinces are well above the national average.

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Ontario and Quebec businesses slide in just below average, while those in the Atlantic region remain least optimistic.

Disappointing performance in the retail sector in December carried into 2012, and sub-par index levels are also seen in hospitality and transportation.

“The Index remains below what it had been at any point between January and July of 2011,” said CFIB vice-president and chief economist Ted Mallett.

“There are signs of strength…the natural resources sector, including manufacturing and wholesale industries, remain quite upbeat, with index levels approaching 70.”

Measured on a scale between zero and 100, an index level above 50 means owners expecting their businesses’ performance to be stronger in the next year.