Economic pessimism outpaces optimism: survey

Toronto— Canadian business leaders are more than three times as likely to express pessimism about the Canadian economy than optimism, according to a recent survey of CPA Canada members holding senior leadership positions.

Half of respondents to the Q4 Business Monitor survey from Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada are pessimistic about prospects for the Canadian economy over the next 12 months, 16 per cent are optimistic and the remaining 34 per cent are neutral.

A resounding 90 per cent of respondents believe current interest rates are having a negative impact on the Canadian economy, while 71 per cent believe rates are having a negative impact on their own company.

“Our survey results suggest that regardless of whether or not we are in a technical recession, the perception among top business leaders is of worsening conditions for the Canadian economy,” says Rosemary McGuire, vice-president, research, guidance and support at CPA Canada.

The CPA Canada quarterly Business Monitor survey takes the pulse of professional accountants in leadership positions in privately and publicly held companies.

Roughly three quarters (73 per cent) of respondents believe that inflation is hurting their own company and 61 per cent believe that they will continue to feel negative consequences for at least another six months.

“The perception that lingering inflation combined with high interest rates will continue to take a toll both on individual companies and the entire Canadian economy are likely contributing to a negative overall economic outlook,” adds McGuire.

The survey also suggests:

  • 63 per cent believe their companies will have increased revenue over the next year;
  • 54 per cent say profits will increase over the next year;
  • 37 per cent anticipate a climb in employee numbers;
  • 47 per cent of respondents indicate they have fewer employees than their company needs, while 24 per cent believe they have more than needed; and
  • Among those who indicate their company has fewer employees than needed, the most often cited reason is a shortage of skilled workers in the labour market (62 per cent).

The CPA Canada Business Monitor is issued quarterly, based on a survey by CPA Canada using the survey platform Alchemer. The report draws on business insights of professional accountants in leadership positions in private and public companies.