B.C. business confidence stronger

  • Mar. 2, 2011 10:00 a.m.

Confidence among British Columbia’s small- and mid-sized business owners was up considerably in January, making B.C tied for third in optimism in Canada.

The B.C. barometer index rose to 71.1 in January, from 67.5 in December and 68.1 in November.  

While there remains uncertainty in the provincial political landscape and with the future of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), small businesses in B.C. are feeling optimistic about their potential for growth and prosperity. This is the first time optimism levels have been substantially above 70 since June 2010, when it was at 72.1).

The national average was down slightly this month, to 68.9, but it is still indicating improved optimism. Positive signs are found in the health of inventories, new orders and investment intentions for production machinery and equipment.

Higher levels of optimism in financial services, natural resources, and health and education services helped push the national average higher. The hospitality sector is by far the least optimistic sector as it has not shown any post-recession growth.

With respect to employment plans in B.C., most employers do not plan to make changes to full-time employment levels (77 per cent), while nine per cent plan to increase full-time employment, and 14 per cent plan to decrease.


More highlights:

• 54 per cent of businesses in B.C. say the overall state of business is satisfactory, 29 per cent say it is good and 17 per cent say it is bad.

• Tax and regulatory costs continue to be the most significant cost pressure in B.C., with 62 per cent of business owners saying these costs are causing difficulties for their business.

• 54 per cent of B.C. small businesses say that insufficient domestic demand is their greatest business constraint, followed by management skills and time constraints (38 per cent).