MONTREAL — Canadian business owners are optimistic about the economy rebounding from COVID-19, with a new report showing that investment plans and sales forecasts for next year are above expected levels. before the pandemic.
Still, the bright outlook for 2022 is clouded by a lingering 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. annually with business owners.
The 2022 Investment Outlook for Canadian Entrepreneurs released Wednesday indicates that 84% of businesses plan to maintain their investments or invest more in their business over the next 12 months.
Additionally, 83% of businesses expect their sales to increase or stay the same, with accommodation and food service 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.”
While economic growth slowed in the fall, the report says Canada’s economy is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels in early 2022.
“Despite the fact that there are still labor shortage and supply chain challenges, 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 biggest impediment to investment in 2022 once demand and cash flow return to normal levels, according to the report.
More than half of companies surveyed by the BDC have already encountered problems finding skilled workers – the highest proportion since the bank launched its annual investment survey in 2019.
Companies in the accommodation and food services sectors are the 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% of those who lost their jobs have changed fields,” the report said.
He revealed that an aging population and lower immigration due to the pandemic could further worsen the labor crisis, with the Atlantic provinces set to suffer the most.
The labor shortage has led to an increased focus on efficiency and automation, especially for companies facing high demand, according to the report.
When asked about investment goals, companies’ top priority was to improve efficiency, followed by increasing sales and introducing new products, according to the report.
BDC conducted its annual survey in the fall of 2021 with one thousand small and medium-sized business owners in Canada who completed the online survey.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on December 8, 2021.
The Canadian Press