Ottawa-Gatineau #9 in Small Business Growth

Ottawa-Gatineau is #9 in small business growth among Canadian CMA’s (Census Metropolitan Areas):


Some Interesting Statistics

  • Small businesses employed roughly five million people in 2008, comprising nearly half of the private-sector labour force.
  • Between 1998 and 2008, small businesses created more than one-third of all new private sector jobs. In 2008, they created roughly 70,000 jobs, almost 70% of the Canadian total.
  • About 25% of small businesses operate in the goods-producing sector and the remaining 75% are in service industries.
  • 64% of businesses in Canada have 6 or less employees:


  • Small businesses are highly represented in the following industries:
    • Construction
    • Non-institutional health care
    • Professional services
    • Retail
    • Accommodation & food services
    • Truck transportation
    • Forestry

ref:  Canada’s Small Business Juggernaut, BMO, October 2009


Key Economic Indicators

CIBC publishes two documents that provide a good summary of key economic indicators for US and Canada:

The Economist publishes weekly indicators.

BMO publishes three reports:

US at 17.5% Unemployed and Underemployed

The New York Times published  an article on November 6th that talked to the point that the “broader measure of unemployment stands at 17.5%“.

The 17.5% rate includes the officially unemployed, who have looked for work in the last four weeks. It also includes discouraged workers, who have looked in the past year, as well as millions of part-time workers who want to be working full time.

The actual rate of underemployment may be even higher since the official government definitions and measures of unemployment miss other underemployment cases.

According to wikipedia, in economics, the term underemployment has three different distinct meanings and applications. All meanings involve a situation in which a person is working, unlike unemployment, where a person who is searching for work cannot find a job.   Underemployment can mean:

  1. The employment of workers with high skill levels in low-wage jobs that do not require such abilities, for example a trained medical doctor who works as a taxi driver.
  2. “Involuntary part-time” workers — workers who could (and would like to) be working for a full work-week but can only find part-time work. By extension, the term is also used in regional planning to describe regions where economic activity rates are unusually low, due to a lack of job opportunities, training opportunities, or due to a lack of services such as childcare and public transportation.
  3. “Overstaffing” or “hidden unemployment”, the practice in which businesses or entire economies employ workers who are not fully occupied—for example, workers currently not being used to produce goods or services due to legal or social restrictions or because the work is highly seasonal.

Former U.S. labour secretary Robert Reich has said that he believes the Unofficial U.S. jobless rate could be as high as 20%.


Canadian Small Businesses Outlook Improving

Survey results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business showed some improving outlooks among small business owners polled:

  • 38% considered the condition of their business to be “good”, 18% “bad”, and 44% “satisfactory
  • 18% of businesses were planning to add staff
  • 16% of businesses were planning to reduce staff
  • Top five business cost concerns: tax, regulatory costs; fuel, energy costs, wage costs; bank account and processing fees; and insurance costs.
  • Top three business constraints: insufficient domestic demand; shortage of working capital; and shortage of skilled labor
  • Business Barometer index rose to 60.4% (well below historical norms, but up since last survey)

US VC Investments Down 61% in 1Q09

Reports from Mercury Press highlight the continuing decline of Venture Capital in the US:

Nationally, VCs invested $3 billion into U.S. companies, down 61 percent from the $7.7 billion invested in the first quarter of 2008. It was smallest quarterly sum since 1997, and the sharpest decline on record.

In the Bay Area, the world’s leading hub of innovation, $1.2 billion was invested in 172 deals during the quarter. That was a 43 percent decrease in dollars and 26 percent decrease in “deal flow” from the previous quarter.

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