SOURCE: Small Business Research Board

February 29, 2008 10:15 ET

Canada's Small Business Confidence Index Decreases to 36.67; Steep Drop in Hiring Plans Reported Says Small Business Research Board Study

TORONTO--(Marketwire - February 29, 2008) - The Small Business Research Board (SBRB) reported today that the Canada Small Business Confidence Index (SBCI) declined to 36.67 or more than 8 points (18.5 %) during the fourth quarter of 2007 from the prior poll of business owners and managers.

The fourth quarter 2007 SBRB study co-sponsored by Integrated Business Analysis (IBA) indicated that decreased plans for hiring during the next 12 months was the principal reason for the decline, even though declines also occurred in the two other categories comprising the index. The overall SBCI last reported during the third quarter of 2007, was 45.

Of the nearly 150 businesses participating in the SBRB poll, 17% said they plan to increase hiring during the next 12 months. That was a 28 point drop from the 45% who reported during the third quarter of 2007 they would increase hiring during the succeeding 12 months.

Additionally, 25% of the respondents said they expect improvements in Canada's economy during the next 12 months, versus 36% who said the same during the third quarter.

Owners and managers also were less optimistic about revenue forecasts, the third major component of the SBCI. Half of the respondents said they expect revenues to increase during the course of the next 12 months, 4 points fewer than the 54% who believed revenues would increase last fall.

The third quarter 2007 report was the first in which the SBRB generated a confidence index. The SBRB had been studying small business attitudes in Canada for several years prior to establishing the index.

"The steep decline in the Canada SBCI was not as great a drop as the nearly 10 point or 21.7 % drop in the U.S. fourth quarter SBCI. Nevertheless, the business climate in North America will be extremely challenging," said Gregg Steinberg, President of IBA.

The Small Business Research Board ascertains and reports the opinions of small business owners and managers on a wide variety of topics related to their own businesses as well as national and international issues that may impact their operations. The SBRB conducts these studies for the benefit of small business owners and managers. The SBRB also provides opportunities for third parties to gain real time insight into the attitudes of small businesses nationwide through the independently conducted research. The SBRB, based in Northfield, Il., has conducted similar quarterly studies in the U.S. since 2004.

The latest information about the Small Business Research Board can be found at www.sbrb.net or www.biznus.net.

Integrated Business Analysis (IBA), along with affiliate companies, is the largest privately-held provider of management consulting services to small and medium-size businesses in North America. IBA either provides directly or through its affiliated companies a comprehensive array of business advisory services, tax and estate planning services or merger, acquisition and other financial advisory services in Canada and the United States.

For more information about this poll, results of previous studies or other matters related to the SBRB, please contact Raymond D. Minkus, (847) 441-4192.

Canada Small Business Research Board Fourth Quarter 2007 vs. Prior Periods

Outlook for the general economy during the next 12 months

          4th Quarter 2007        3rd Quarter 2007       2nd Quarter 2007
Better                  25%                     36%                    42%


Revenue expectations  for next  12 months

          4th Quarter 2007        3rd Quarter 2007       2nd Quarter 2007

Increase
 revenue                50%                     54%                    54%


Expect to hire new employees during next 12 months

          4th Quarter 2007        3rd Quarter 2007       2nd Quarter 2007

Increase
 hiring                 17%                     45%                    36%

Copyright 2008 Small Business Research Board (SBRB)

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