February 2024 Business Barometer - Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)

CFIB’s Business Barometer® long-term index, which is based on 12-month forward expectations for business performance, has seen a healthy gain of six points in February, to reach 54.9. The short-term optimism index, based on a 3-month outlook, also jumped by eight points, and reached 51.1. Both levels have seen some of the largest monthly gains ever recorded for this time of the year.

Provincial picture

The provincial outlook mirrors Canada’s gains in optimism. Nine provinces have seen improvements in 12-month optimism, while Saskatchewan remained unchanged. Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island recorded the largest jumps in long term confidence. Despite the boost in confidence in  Quebec and New Brunswick, both provinces are still below the 50 mark.   

Sectoral picture

All sectors registered gains in 12-month optimism, except the finance, insurance and real estate industry which saw a small decrease. Health and education, manufacturing and retail reported the largest improvements. The retail sector’s boost of confidence of four points brought the optimism level at 52.8, the first time over 50 since May 2023. However, similar to the previous three months and despite healthy improvements, agriculture and hospitality are at the bottom of the optimism scale, both with levels below 50.   

Inflation indicators

Average price increase plans for the next 12 months remained unchanged at 2.8%. Average wage increase plans dropped slightly to 2.5%. 

The full report can be accessed here.