Small business confidence decline amid COVID-19 outbreak

March 25, 2020

Small business confidence fell to a new historic low amid impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)’s latest Business Barometer®. After a 10-point drop earlier in the month, the national confidence level fell a further 19 index points to 30.8 from February’s level of 60.5.

“March 2020 has turned out to be a month like no other in Canada’s economic history,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s vice-president and chief economist. “Small business sentiment has never been this low in the Business Barometer’s 32-year history, including during the 2008 and 1990 recessions.”

Only one in five owners say their business is in a good state, compared to 38 per cent who say it is doing poorly. Hiring plans have ground to a halt, with just 5 per cent of business owners planning to add on full-time staff in the next three months and 50 per cent planning layoffs. An index level nearer to 65 indicates that the economy is growing at its potential.

“Although these measures are necessary, they have a direct immediate impact on small businesses and their employees,” added Mallett. ”We are urging governments to provide more relief for small businesses to make sure that we can restore optimism after the crisis is over.”

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Source: Canadian Society of Customs Brokers (CSCB), Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)


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