All Business Sectors Showing Short-Term Confidence

Short-term confidence has been improving in all business sectors, including those that have been significantly affected by the pandemic, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) ‘Business Barometer.’ However, labour shortages and rising costs continue holding businesses back from recovery. The three-month optimism index sits at 60.8, an increase of 0.7 points from March. The 12-month index dropped by 0.4 points, to 64.9. "With the approaching seasonal peak activity and loosening of travel restrictions, small businesses in some sectors, especially hospitality, are feeling more confident. Almost all business health indicators have also seen improvement over last month's results," says Simon Gaudreault, vice-president of national research at CFIB. Yet, "despite the improvements in business sentiment, many small businesses are still facing significant challenges such as inflationary pressures, high fuel and energy costs, and shortages of labour." In total, 38 per cent of businesses said they were in a good shape, while 17 per cent reported being in poor shape, a small improvement over March's numbers. Hiring intentions continue their gradual upward trend, with 28 per cent of businesses planning to add full-time staff and 11 per cent saying they will cut back. Pricing plans continued to climb, with businesses expecting to increase prices over the next 12 months by an unprecedented 4.9 per cent on average. Additionally, one half of small business owners report that skilled labour shortages continue to pose a challenge for their return to normal sales.