1- Relatively stable economic conditions
The index is similar to the November 2012 index (+0.5) and stands at 62.7 out of 100. However, it has decreased by 3.7 points since February 2012.
The level of optimism of SME managers is slightly up. Compared to November 2012, it increased by 3.1 points with respect to the future of Québec SMEs in general (average score of 62.0) and 1.7 points with respect to their own companies (average score of 70.0).
2- Positive sales forecasts, but still weak
Most SME managers are expecting that their sales will increase in the next 12 months, but in a much lower proportion than in prior years. The average score is 60.9 for this indicator, similar to November 2012 (60.8), but down compared to February 2012 (64.6).
3- Slight increase in the number of employees
Taking into account all hirings and layoffs expected in the next 12 months, SME managers expect a net increase in the number of their employees in Québec, but one fifth of them expect instead a net decrease in their workforce in Québec. The average score for this indicator is 57.8, down 1.9 points from November 2012 and 6.4 points from February 2012. This is the lowest score recorded to date. Operating costs (55%) and labour recruitment (48%) continue to be a major concern.
4- Rather favourable financing conditions
The majority of SME managers consider that financing conditions will be rather favourable for their companies in the next 12 months. However, one quarter of them are pessimistic about these conditions. The average score is 62.3 for this indicator, which is slightly up compared to November 2012 (+1.6 points) but down compared to February 2012 (-3.1 points).
5- Decrease in investments
SME managers consider investing in modernizing the equipment of their companies during the next 12 months. However, this indicator is down compared to November 2012 (-2.2 points) and September 2011 (-4.2 points). The average score is 61.5. This is the lowest score recorded to date.