A Canadian survey done recently shows that small and medium sized business owners are cautiously optimistic about the economy but also demonstrates some interesting insights into small business concerns and expenditures.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released the results of a business survey done on behalf of its members. Some 967 businesses were queried for this web study and they were asked to give their reponses to a series of questions relating to employment, economic outlook, finances, business performance and more.
For the study, the CFIB used a rate scale from 0 to 100, whereby an index level of anything above 50 meant that more business owners were expecting positive business growth in the coming year compared with those that did not.
The study yields some interesting results with some industries demonstrating healthier business expectations than others in the coming months. For example, the finance and insurance industries, natural resources as well as the health and education services sector all had the highest index rating.
The survey also outlines some of the major cost concerns of small and medium sized businesses to come. Not surprisingly, many business owners felt that fuel and energy related costs were their biggest concerns. Other cost concerns include taxes, regulatory and bank fees, wage and labor as well as high insurance costs.
When asked about constraints to business growth in their respective industries, business owners claimed the following factors as being the most relevant to them:
- Not enough local demand
- Lack of skilled labor
- Management training and time constraints
- Shortage of business working capital
While the overall business index was a little under 70, which demonstrated a relatively strong sense of confidence in business growth, there were also important signs of stagnation of business expectations.
Almost half of respondents rated their business performance only as acceptable. When we examine the figures relating to hiring, a vital indicator of overall economic health, we also note that most respondents foresee no changes to their current employment plans in the coming months, with only slightly more businesses planning on hiring than those planning on decreasing employment.
These results of Canadian businesses mirror those of their counterparts in the U.S. who also expect moderate economic growth but one that is restrained by conservative employment rate predictions.
For full CFIB survey results, please consult this link.