The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) launched a new quarterly report focusing on short-term economic forecasts, data about job vacancies and this month focuses on the financial situation many small businesses find themselves in after more than two years of pandemic disruption.

The business association partnered with consulting firm AppEco, to develop early short-term economic forecasts of some key macroeconomic indicators. The quarterly report, The Main Street Quarterly, also contains estimates of private sector job vacancies. The current issue focuses on the debt held by small and medium sized businesses in Canada and their borrowing costs.

High job vacancy rates 

The report states that the private sector continued to see high job vacancy rates of 4.9 per cent in the third quarter of 2022. The CFIB says more than 660,000 jobs went unfilled for at least four months. Quebec, Saskatchewan and British Columbia reported the highest vacancy rates.

The association adds that many of its members remain in a dire financial situation, as well, with four in 10 reporting that they haven’t yet started to repay their pandemic debt.

“To survive the pandemic, 65 per cent of small firms resorted to taking on federal government loans, while 24 per cent used credit cards and 23 per cent used lines of credit. On average, 40 per cent of small businesses have not yet repaid any of their pandemic-related debt,” the association states. “Moreover, 55 per cent of small businesses report that their financial situation, including debts taken on due to the pandemic, poses a significant challenge.” 

Retail sales and inflation 

The report also looks at total gross domestic product (GDP), retail sales and inflation, which they say should only moderately recede over the fourth quarter of 2022.

“We hope that publications like The Main Street Quarterly can raise awareness on the current reality of Canadian entrepreneurs,” says CFIB’s chief economist and vice president of research, Simon Gaudreault.