MONTREAL – Canadian business owners are optimistic about the economy rebounding after COVID-19, a new report reveals that investment plans and sales expectations for next year exceed pre-COVID-19 levels. pandemic.

Yet the promising outlook for 2022 is clouded by a persistent labor shortage and supply chain disruptions that are expected to continue into the new year, the Business Development Bank of Canada found in its survey. annual with business owners.

The 2022 investment outlook for Canadian entrepreneurs released on Wednesday indicates that 84% of companies plan to maintain their investments or invest more in their business in the next 12 months.

Additionally, 83% of businesses expect their sales to increase or stay the same, with accommodation and restaurant businesses being the most optimistic, according to the study.

“Confidence in the economy is strong,” said Pierre Cléroux, vice-president of research and chief economist at BDC. “We are back to pre-crisis levels for the first time in 18 months.”

As economic growth slowed in the fall, the report says the Canadian economy is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels in early 2022.

“Despite the fact that there are still challenges in terms of labor and supply chain shortages, people are optimistic,” he said. “They have a positive view of the economy.”

Still, a possible upcoming labor shortage means some economic uncertainty will continue into the new year, according to the report.

Labor shortages are expected to become the main obstacle to investment in 2022, once demand and cash flow return to normal levels, according to the report.

More than half of companies surveyed by BDC have already faced challenges finding skilled workers – the highest proportion since the bank launched its annual investment survey in 2019.

Businesses in the accommodation and food services industries are most likely to be affected by labor shortages, according to the survey.

“Many hotels and restaurants are looking for workers in a labor market that has fully recovered and where 20 percent of those who have lost their jobs have changed fields,” the report said.

He found that an aging population and lower immigration due to the pandemic could further exacerbate the labor shortage, with the Atlantic provinces expected to suffer the most.

The labor shortage has led to a greater emphasis on efficiency and automation, especially for companies facing high demand, according to the report.

When asked about investment goals, the companies’ top priority was to improve efficiency, then increase sales and introduce new products, the report said.

The BDC conducted its annual survey in fall 2021 with 1,000 small and medium-sized business owners in Canada who responded to the online survey.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on December 8, 2021.


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