CFIB Business Barometer Holds Steady In March

Elections, problems in Japan and Middle East have little effect

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has announced an update to its Business Barometer Index, and – in a good way – the change is insignificant.  Only a slight dip registered despite elections and the crises in the Middle East and Japan.

The Index just slipped from 69.4 in February to 69.2 in March, which is of course about the smallest possible decrease.  And as always, any level above 50 is supposed to signify that the majority of small business owners believe their firms will do better next year.

So that’s the positive news.  Unfortunately, there’s reason to be a little bit apprehensive about what the figures for April will show.

CFIB vice president and chief economist Ted Mallett said in a statement, "It should be noted however, that the majority of responses to the monthly survey were logged early in the month-before the earthquake and tsunami in Japan roiled international markets and before the election call in this country."

Then Mallet continued, "Elections don’t normally have much impact on business optimism, and the initial market reactions to conditions in Japan have since seen at least a partial correction.  But there is no doubt businesses are currently dealing with more uncertainty and interruptions to trade."

We can probably be confident that the index will stay well above 50, in any event.

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