BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group

June 17, 2013 06:00 ET

BMO Provincial Business Report: Sunny 2013 Outlook for Business Owners in Atlantic Canada

- Looking ahead: 68 per cent expect 2013 to be a better year for business

- One in five business owners plan to invest more into their business

- Close to a third of Atlantic businesses expect their number of employees will increase in 2013

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - June 17, 2013) - Business owners in Atlantic Canada are more confident that their counterparts in other regions of the country with regards to the growth of their businesses and the Canadian economy, according to a BMO survey released today.

The survey, conducted by Pollara, found that 68 per cent of Atlantic Canada businesses have an overall positive business outlook, compared to a national average of 62 per cent. The BMO survey, which examined the outlook for growth and plans to invest by Canadian business owners, also revealed that:

  • Atlantic Canadian owners are five times more likely to expect the Canadian economy to improve rather than worsen in 2013 (42 per cent vs. 8 per cent);
  • One-fifth (19 per cent) plan to invest more into their business this year;
  • Close to a third expect their number of employees will increase in 2013 while less than 1 per cent are expecting their numbers to decline;
  • One-third (36 per cent) of businesses plan to hire a paid summer student, the highest percentage in the country.

"These results clearly indicate that business owners in Atlantic Canada are well positioned and confident that economic growth and demand in Canada and the U.S. will help their businesses grow and prosper in the coming years," said Carolyn Booth, Senior Vice President, Atlantic Canada, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Atlantic Canada business leaders are also increasingly mobilized and working together to ensure that the region diversifies its trade, improves its innovation and productivity record, and becomes a leader in talent, through forums such as the new 4Front Council established in the wake of the 4Front Atlantic Conference."

Economic Drivers in Atlantic Canada

According to special BMO Economics report released in May, real GDP in Atlantic Canada grew at just a 0.1 per cent annualized rate in the five years through 2012 versus 1.1 per cent for all of Canada. In 2013, the report expects growth of 5.0 per cent in Newfoundland & Labrador, driven by a rebound in oil production, 1.5 per cent in Prince Edward Island, 1.4 per cent in Nova Scotia and 0.9 per cent in New Brunswick.

Atlantic Canada will continue to benefit from large scale capital projects, including the Hebron offshore oil project, the Muskrat Falls hydro project and the Royal Canadian Navy's plans to spend $25 billion on shipbuilding in Halifax through 2030, helping to create some 8,000 new jobs. "Overall, private sector capital spending is expected to rise 4 per cent this year after jumping more than 8 per cent in 2012, with the vast majority of the strength in Newfoundland & Labrador," said Robert Kavcic, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly-diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $555 billion as at April 30, 2013, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

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