Economic optimism rebounds in second quarter: CPA Canada Business Monitor

Canadian business leaders are more optimistic about the prospects of the Canadian economy heading into the summer, according to a new survey conducted for Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada).

Toronto, July 4, 2019 –Canadian business leaders are more optimistic about the prospects of the Canadian economy heading into the summer, according to a new survey conducted for Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada).

Optimism about the economy over the next 12 months is up sharply among professional accountants in leadership positions surveyed for the CPA Canada Business Monitor.  Almost one in three (31 per cent) of the survey respondents were optimistic in the second quarter of 2019, up from 22 per cent the previous quarter. About a quarter of respondents (24 per cent) were pessimistic, while cautious neutrality continues to be the opinion of the largest group (44 per cent), very similar to last quarter (47 per cent). What is interesting about the latest findings is that optimism and pessimism essentially flipped in the second quarter when compared with the year’s opening three months.

As optimism was at 32 per cent in the second quarter of 2018, it is basically unchanged on a year-over-year basis. However, that is well down from the second quarter of 2017 when 50 per cent of respondents expressed an optimistic outlook.

The top three challenges to the Canadian economy cited by participants in the most recent survey are:

  • protectionist trade sentiment in the U.S. (19 per cent);
  • uncertainty surrounding the Canadian economy (16 per cent); and
  • the state of the U.S. economy (11 per cent).

A better outlook among Canadian business leaders is always welcome and encouraging,” says Joy Thomas, president and CEO, CPA Canada. “However, it remains clear that there is still uncertainty, especially in relation to our large neighbour to the south.” 

Company-specific findings

Half of those surveyed are optimistic about the prospects for their business over the next 12 months, with just 18 per cent pessimistic and 32 per cent neutral. Heading into the second half of 2019, 61 per cent are predicting their businesses will see increased revenues, 58 per cent are foreseeing increased profits and 43 per cent are expecting to increase the number of their employees.

Methodology

The CPA Canada Business Monitor is issued quarterly, based on a survey commissioned by CPA Canada and conducted by Nielsen. The report draws upon business insights of professional accountants in leadership positions in privately and publicly held companies.

For the Q2 2019 study, emailed surveys were completed by 378 of 3,959 people identified by CPA Canada as holding senior positions in industry (CFOs, CEOs, COOs and other leadership roles). The response rate was 12.8 per cent, with a margin of error associated with this type of study ±5.0 per cent, with a confidence level of 95 per cent. Further information regarding response rate calculations can be found in the survey’s background document. The survey was conducted from May 30 to June 17, 2019.

A background document is available online at cpacanada.ca/businessmonitorQ22019.