The Atlantic Canada Business Confidence Index Survey, commissioned by TD Bank Group, shows strong growth in Prince Edward Island, but a significant decrease in confidence in Newfoundland and Labrador.
These figures reflect the economic circumstances of these two provinces, notes Don Mills, president of Corporate Research Associates, which conducted the fourth edition of this survey.
For the four provinces in the Atlantic region, the confidence index is 106.4. That’s about the same as in spring 2017, down only four tenths of a point.
Prince Edward Island comes out first with an index of 133.2. Nova Scotia (121.5) and New Brunswick (111.3) followed, leaving Newfoundland and Labrador well behind with 75.4 points.
Confidence in Prince Edward Island grew strongly in one year. The index rose by 12.9 points. In contrast, confidence declined by 8.7 points in one year in Newfoundland and Labrador.
New Brunswick (2.9 points) and Nova Scotia (1.1) had modest increases.
Revenue up, but not more hiring
The survey results indicate that business leaders are more optimistic about the current and future state of their own companies than they are about the provincial economy in general. Just like last year, the change that is most desired by these economic players is a decrease in taxes. They are 26% to believe that a decrease in their taxation would contribute to create a better climate for their business.
Business leaders say it costs more to be in business, and that is the biggest problem facing businesses in Atlantic Canada.
Even though they reported rising revenues and 42% of them, 5% more than last year, anticipate a further increase in their profits in 2018, only 21% of companies surveyed plan to hire new companies. full-time employees in the next year, and 13% of part-time employees.
Most of these companies say they have not hired more staff in the past year and do not plan to do so in the coming year.
Confidence in the region’s economic outlook remains relatively weak, and business generally does not believe the Atlantic economy has improved over the past year. Yet gross domestic product (GDP) has grown modestly in the four eastern provinces in the past year.
Several workers were able to take advantage of wage increases in 2017 and these were higher than inflation, except in the case of Newfoundland and Labrador. Employees in the four Atlantic provinces are expected to expect more modest increases in 2018, according to forecasts.
The results of this survey, commissioned by the TD Bank Group, are based on 501 responses collected from business leaders in Atlantic Canada in an online survey conducted from January 22 to February 11, 2018.