FILE - In this Aug. 4, 2011 file photo, shoppers, carrying their purchases, pass H&M, in New York. Consumers spent more on autos, furniture and gasoline in July, pushing up retail sales by the largest amount in four months. The gain could signal that Americans are a little more confident and help dispell fears that the country is in danger of toppling into another recession. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
A new survey suggests confidence among Canada’s small and medium-sized business owners is at a three year low after dropping for the fourth consecutive month.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says confidence in economic conditions among its members dropped 1.2 per cent nationally in July to 60.9.
The last time it was lower was in July of 2009, when it stood at 58.6.
CFIB chief economist Ted Mallett says the index’s current position in relation to gross domestic product puts it very close to the zero-growth mark, suggesting Canada’s economy is nearing a standstill.
On Tuesday, Statistics Canada reported the economy had grown a disappointing 0.1 per cent in May, leaving the pace of the recovery at slightly below two per cent on an annualized basis.
The CFIB says confidence declined in July even in resource-rich provinces like Alberta, which saw a drop of three points to 70.3.
Saskatchewan businesses were the most confident in the country with an index reading of 72, while those in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia were at the low end at 52.7 and 54 respectively.
Based on past results, the CFIB says index levels normally range between 65 and 75 when the economy is growing.