Business outlook survey suggests business confidence up, Prairies still weak

OTTAWA — The Bank of Canada’s latest business outlook survey suggests business confidence has edged higher as global trade tensions have eased, but the Prairies continue to remain a weak spot.

The survey, which is based on interviews with senior management at about 100 firms, says that outside of the energy-producing regions, reports of improved indicators of future sales are widespread.

It says foreign demand, particularly from the U.S., continues to lift exports and expectations for U.S. economic growth have improved as trade tensions have declined.

The central bank’s Business Outlook Survey also suggested that labour shortages are a key obstacle to meeting an unexpected rise in demand except in the Prairies where businesses continued to report limited capacity pressures.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Canada’s new Survey of Consumer Expectations suggests Canadians’ expectations for wage growth over the next year held steady near two per cent, just below their expectations for inflation.

The new consumer survey also found mixed signals about the labour market as Canadians saw both an increased chance that they will leave their job voluntarily during the next 12 months and an increased probability that they will lose their job over the next year.

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