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2017 Mid-Year Economic Report

The National Small Business Association (NSBA) is the nation’s first small-business advocacy organization, celebrating 80 years of small-business representation in Washington, D.C. Focused on federal advocacy and operating on a staunchly nonpartisan basis, NSBA conducts a series of surveys every year, including two Economic Reports. The 2017 Mid-Year Economic Report shows continued improvement in the overall small-business outlook. Nearly half (45 percent) of small businesses say today’s economy is better than six months ago, the highest this indicator has been in nine years. More than half (54 percent) of small –business owners said today’s economy is better than it was one year ago, again the highest this indicator has been in nine years. Unfortunately that optimism is more restrained when looking at expectations for the coming year. Following the so-called “change election” and significant improvement in outlook seen in our 2016 Year-End Economic Report, today we’re seeing a drop in the number of small businesses anticipating economic expansion in the next 12 months. Underscoring the “honeymoon is over” tenor in this survey, more small businesses today than at any point in the last four years say “partisan gridlock in D.C.” is a top challenge facing their business. Eighty-three percent of small-business owners are confident in the future of their business, however just over half anticipate growth for their firm in the coming year. The number of small-business owners who said “economic uncertainty” was a significant challenge to the future growth and survival of their business dropped to 36 percent, the lowest this indicator has been since February 2008. There were slight drops both in revenue growth over the last year and anticipated revenue growth in the coming year. When it comes to hiring, there was a decrease among small businesses that hired in the last 12 months, as compared with our January 2017 survey, and an even bigger drop among those that plan to hire in the next 12 months. This is another indicator that points to the post-election “bump” moderating: less growth than six months ago, but still solid hiring numbers when evaluating the long-term trends. Of particular note: 84 percent of small firms either gave raises in the last year or plan to do so this year. According to NSBA data from as far back as 1993, there is a clear correlation to a small-business owner’s ability to hire and his/her ability to get financing. While this survey shows slightly higher rates of financing available to small firms, that change appears to be partially due to a slightly larger company size among respondents. Interestingly, we found a slight increase among firms that had to lay-off employees due to an inability to garner financing. In addition to our general policy questions, we focused on several energy and environment questions and found that, while the majority of small firms are concerned about the future energy costs for their business, slightly less than half are concerned about climate change’s impact on their business. More small-business owners picked stability as their primary energy cost concern, over low costs and “green” energy sources. No surprise, then, that the majority of small firms review annually their energy costs and take steps to reduce their energy consumption. On more broad policy topics, the number one thing small business wants Congress and the Administration to do is end the partisan gridlock and work together—this is higher than at any point in the last four years. The 2017 Mid-Year Economic Report was conducted on-line July 24 through Aug. 14, 2017 among 1,134 small-business owners. We hope you find this report informative and useful. Please contact NSBA’s media office for inquiries at   View

Alberta’s Recession: Not quite like the others

This report outlines the differences (structural and external) between the economic downturn currently impacting Alberta and those that have affected other similar jurisdictions in the past.

Business Outlook Survey – Winter 2017–18

Business sentiment in the winter Business Outlook Survey remains positive: the sales outlook is still healthy, despite some moderation. At the same time, capacity and labour pressures are becoming more apparent and are stimulating firms’ employment and investment plans. Overview – Expectations for sales activity remain positive but point to some moderation ahead. Following broad-based strength in past sales, many firms expect stable sales growth or a return to a more sustainable pace, particularly in the goods sector and in demand from domestic customers. – Firms plan to expand operations to accommodate sustained demand, which is evident in a rebound of investment and employment intentions since the autumn survey. – Reflecting strong demand and tightening labour markets, indicators of capacity pressures and labour shortages picked up. Survey results suggest that economic slack is now largely limited to the energy-producing regions. – Firms expect growth of input prices to rise, owing to gains in commodity prices. Pass-through of input costs and emerging wage pressures to output prices remains limited due to competitive forces. Inflation expectations are modest and unchanged from the third quarter. – Apart from higher prime rates, credit conditions are largely unchanged. – The Business Outlook Survey indicator rebounded almost to its summer peak, consistent with widespread positive sentiment.   View

Canadian 2016 Outlook: Second Wind or Second Shoe?

This brief report provides an overview of economic conditions heading into 2016 including exploring the prospectus of industry performance for the coming year.

Canadian Economic News, January 2016

Statistics Canada released today the first edition of Canadian Economic News, for the January 2016 reference month. Canadian Economic News is a concise monthly summary of selected Canadian and international economic events and market developments.

Canadian Economic News, July 2017

Canadian Economic News provides a concise monthly summary of selected Canadian economic events, and international and financial market developments, by calendar month. View

Canadian Economic News, May 2017

This brief report provides insight into the latest national economic conditions including provincial characteristics.

Canadian Outlook Economic Forecast: Autumn 2015

This quarterly economic forecast provides highlights of the Canadian Outlook report, which presents the short-term national outlook.

Canadian Outlook Economic Forecast: Spring 2016

This quarterly economic forecast provides highlights of the Canadian Outlook report, which presents the short-term national outlook. Document Highlights: Early indications are that the economy will fare better in 2016; Oil and gas investment is expected to contract sharply for the second consecutive year; Even outside the energy sector, investment is expected to fall due to weak market demand and low business confidence; Weaker global growth will take some of the steam out of exports.

Canadian Outlook Economic Forecast: Summer 2016

This quarterly economic forecast provides highlights of the Canadian Outlook report, which presents the short-term national outlook. Document highlights include (a) despite a strong start to the year, we have downgraded our projection for economic growth in 2016 to just 1.4 per cent; (b) the wildfires that engulfed much of Fort McMurray and the surrounding areas in May and June are expected to subtract 0.1 percentage points from overall economic growth this year; (c) the U.S. economy got off to a slow start and the world economy is losing steam. These factors will hurt Canada’s trade sector; (d) the largest source of weakness in the economy remains the steep deterioration in business investment. While much of the weakness in business investment is due to the collapse in energy investment, there is still no sign of the long-awaited recovery in non-energy investment.

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