By Anthony Capkun
September 23, 2013 – According to RS Means’ John Clinkard, recent surveys show small businesses on both sides of the Canada/U.S. border are “significantly more upbeat about their economic prospects over the next 12 months than they were at the beginning of the year”.
Skipping to the Canadian picture, Clinkard says the level of business optimism among small businesses—painted by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)—appeared to be just as bright as in the U.S.
In August, the CFIB’s Business Barometer increased by 1.7 to 65.9, which was just short of the 66.2 it reached in February of this year. According to CFIB, says Clinkard, readings between 65 and 70 usually indicate the economy is growing at its potential.
“Across the country, sentiment increased in seven of the 10 provinces, led by Ontario, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland & Labrador,” writes Clinkard. “Small business owners in Quebec and Manitoba appeared somewhat less positive about their local prospects.”
From an industrial perspective, business sentiment was particularly strong in agriculture, manufacturing, retail and professional services. “Consistent with a mixed pattern of both residential and non-residential building—and the relatively soft pattern of commodity prices—business sentiment in construction and natural resources was subpar in August.”
The consistent pattern between the American and Canadian surveys appears to be sending a much more positive signal about the near-term economic prospects for economic activity in North America, concludes Clinkard.