B.C.'s small business confidence fell in January, even as the rest of the country grew more optimistic, according to Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) data released this morning.
B.C.'s business confidence this past month slid 3.4 index points to 61.6 from 65.0 in December, according to the CFIB Business Barometer report.
According to the CFIB, B.C. was the only province to see small business confidence fall this month. The report noted that B.C.'s business optimism is below its historical average.
On a more positive front, the CFIB research found that 21.3% of B.C.'s small and medium-sized enterprises are planning to hire full-time employees over the coming months.
In contrast to B.C.'s decline in business confidence, the country's business optimism jumped more than three points to 65.7 in January from 62.6 in December.
Ted Mallett, CFIB's chief economist and vice-president, said business optimism in Canada is fairly even across various industries.
"Overall, there's a lot of optimism in white-collar industries such as professional services, finance and the information sector, but manufacturing, retail and construction are not far behind," he said.
Nationally, the CFIB found that full-time hiring plans have jumped to a post-recession high, with 27% of businesses expecting to hire additional staff in the next few months.
The Business Barometer index is measured on a scale of 0 to 100, where an index level above 50 indicating that owners expecting their businesses' performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. According to the CFIB, past results have showed that index levels have ranged between 65 and 70 when the economy is growing "at its potential."