A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa on March 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa on March 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Canadian small business confidence drops in October as COVID-19 cases rise

The decline in business sentiment is broad based as the jump in COVID-19 cases threatens the small business sector

A new report says small business confidence dropped in October as the COVID-19 curve tracked upward.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says its latest business barometer, which measures the outlook of Canadian entrepreneurs, fell six points in October to land at a five-month low of 53.3.

The organization says business confidence is the lowest in Quebec at 42.2, while entrepreneurs in Nova Scotia were the most upbeat with a reading of 63.1.

The results suggest that after a rebound in economic activity and optimism over the summer months, the new wave of the pandemic has weakened business confidence.

CFIB chief economist Ted Mallett says the decline in business sentiment is broad based as the jump in COVID-19 cases threatens the small business sector.

But he says businesses in the hospitality and personal services sectors appear to be most concerned with the impact of renewed restrictions.

In preparing its monthly business barometer, the CFIB asks small businesses across Canada how they expect to be performing a year from now. The results are used to create an index, with the highest possible result of 100 indicating all businesses expects their business to be in better shape in 12 months, while zero means all businesses think they’ll be in worse shape.

The index of 53.3 reported this month means businesses expect to be in about the same shape in a year, a result Mallett says is negative for entrepreneurs hoping to grow their businesses.

The Canadian Press

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