[TORONTO, ON] - Small business confidence, as measured by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, grew for the seventh month in a row in March.
The CFIB says the continuing optimism means small businesses have now returned to what can be considered normal for a sustainably growing economy.
The CFIB's Index climbed to 67.7 in March, more than a point and a half above February's level and six points above its August 2011 low.
Business owners in Alberta led the index at 74.6 followed by Saskatchewan at 72.
The CFIB says big gains in business sentiment in Ontario pushed the provincial index above the national average for the first time in a year and a half to 68.2.
Small business optimism remained healthy in Manitoba at 69.8, followed by Quebec at 64.6 and Nova Scotia at 64.1. Levels fell back somewhat in British Columbia at 63.8 and New Brunswick at 66.
Measured on a scale between 0 and 100, an index above 50 means owners expecting their businesses' performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance.
The March 2012 findings are based on 821 responses, collected from a random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey.