SME Confidence Slips Slightly

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    The confidence of small business owners fell slightly in May, the third consecutive monthly decline since February, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). The ‘Business Barometer index’ dropped a third of a point from April to 62.1. “It’s a fairly small decline, but the index is now at its lowest point since the summer of 2012, when the economy went through a slow-motion act,” says Ted Mallett, chief economist and vice-president at CFIB. Small business owners in Alberta (68.8), Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia are all above the national average. Ontario and Manitoba are slightly below the national average. The biggest declines occurred in Quebec (58.9), which dropped a five full points, and Nova Scotia (50), which is by far the lowest in the country. “Despite a reasonably good outlook for employment and capital investment, there are general signs of sluggishness, including a greater concern over levels of customer demand,” says Mallett.