Canadian Business Owners’ Optimism Drops Slightly From Six Months Ago

According to the semi-annual BMO Small Business Confidence Report released April 10, Canadian business owners’ confidence in the state of the economy and their business prospects dropped slightly compared to the latter half of 2013, but is still up from a year ago.

The BMO Small Business Confidence Report is designed to produce an index score that measures the level of confidence small business owners have in the economy and their business prospects based on a series of key indicators, including their predictions for performance, economic outlook, growth expectations and plans for investment. As a single-figure snapshot of small business confidence, the current index score would register at 65 out of 100 – down slightly from last fall (70 out of 100), but up from 59 out of 100 a year ago.

The report revealed an upturn in confidence between the spring and fall of 2013, likely reflecting the weaker Canadian dollar, stronger U.S. economy and solid GDP growth in the second half of last year.

While the confidence score has dropped slightly over the past six months, the majority of business owners across the country share a positive outlook for the year ahead, with those in British Columbia and Alberta recording the highest score.

“With the U.S. economy experiencing an uptick, Canadian companies could benefit from looking beyond traditional markets to find new buyers for their products and grow their business,” said Steve Murphy, Head, Canadian Commercial Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal. “With impressive growth continuing in emerging economies – such as China, India, Brazil and south of the Canadian border – it’s important for business owners to tap into these markets as they represent another avenue for business success.”

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services organization based in North America. The bank offers a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers. BMO Financial Group had total assets of $593 billion and more than 45,500 employees at Jan. 31, 2014.