Ottawa -- After improving steadily from the third quarter of 2011 to the beginning of 2012, business confidence has now dropped for the second quarter in a row, with the index falling back to where it was a year ago, according to the Conference Board of Canada’s Autum 2012 Index of Business Confidence.
The index now sits at 92.3. That’s 5.5 points lower than in the previous quarter and a 9.5 point drop from the first quarter of 2012, when it stood at 101.8. Pushing the index down was lower capacity utilization, which has struggled to recover since the recession.
The survey asks business leaders about their expectations for the Canadian economy. Only 14% of respondents said they believe economic conditions will improve over the next six months—a huge drop from six months ago when 43% said the economy would strengthen. Two-thirds of respondents now expect conditions to remain the same, the highest share to voice that response since 2007.