Apparently NB SMEs are very confident about their economic prospects. The CFIB is reporting that SMEs here have high levels of confident and growing while in Nova Scotia there is a low level of confidence and it is declining. The soup bone quote:
“It is quite exciting, actually, when a province can outperform the country,” said Judith Andrew, Atlantic vice-president of the federation Wednesday. “That really does reflect a pretty positive outlook for the province of New Brunswick.” “Our barometer tends to be a pretty accurate coincident indicator for the economy.”
It is certainly true that NB did not get hit as hard in the recession for reasons we have discussed many times so there may be influence there but the variance with Nova Scotia and the commentary makes my crap-o-meter go up a few notches.
She predicted New Brunswick will continue to climb on the business barometer for the rest of the year. “It has been on the upward track,” said Andrew. In contrast, Nova Scotia is at 61.2 and tracking downwards, she said.
The CFIB is in a very public and acrimonious battle with the Nova Scotia government and coincidentally its members are very negative on the economy. It may be a coincidence but….
Nova Scotia has serious economic challenges as well as New Brunswick but intuitively there shouldn’t be such a variance in the business confidence level. New Brunswick has the second highest deficit in the country that we need to dig out of. We have similar problems with population stagnation as Nova Scotia. Small business employment growth has been very limited over the past 10 years and net new business start ups have been among the lowest in North America.
But if I was a SME (I guess I am one) my response to a CFIB poll would be based on my current situation and on my perception of things based on what I read in the newspaper. In New Brunswick we are reading mostly good news stories these days and in Nova Scotia, I pick up the newspaper and read that the budget will be devastating for Nova Scotia SMEs (according to the CFIB).
I guess it makes some sense after all.