07/11/2011 11:48 EDT | Updated 09/10/2011 05:12 EDT

Bank Of Canada Business Outlook: Employers In A Hiring Mood


THE CANADIAN PRESS -- OTTAWA - Businesses across the country are planning to kick their hiring into high gear over the next year, according to a Bank of Canada survey that found corporate Canada in a generally upbeat mood.

"The balance of opinion on employment has risen to a record high level," the bank said in its summer business outlook survey released Monday.

"Intentions to increase employment over the next 12 months were widespread across all regions and sectors, particularly in the services sector."

The central bank said 57 per cent of the firms surveyed expected to hire new workers over the next year compared with just four per cent of firms that expected to have fewer employees over the next 12 months.

The strong expectation of jobs growth followed a better than expected jobs report in Canada for June, the third consecutive month of gains.

Statistics Canada reported Friday a net gain of 28,000 jobs for the month, a stark contrast to a disappointing report south of the border, where the much larger U.S. economy gained just 18,000 jobs.

The central bank also said Monday that its survey found on balance that firms saw an increase in sales growth over the past year and that they expect sales to rise even faster over the coming year.

The bank said strong commodity demand is fuelling the view by companies in Western Canada that sales growth will accelerate over the coming year, while those in the rest of Canada expect stable growth.

"Firms based in Central and Eastern Canada generally expect sales growth to be similar to that over the past 12 months, given an economic background characterized by continuing softness in U.S. demand, strong competition and a high Canadian dollar," the central bank said.

"Nonetheless, a number of firms reported that they expect to benefit from recent efforts to reposition their businesses or diversify their markets."

In its senior loan officer survey, the Bank of Canada says lending conditions in Canada for businesses are continuing to ease.

The two reports come as the Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney prepares to make his next interest rate announcement next week.

Craig Wong, The Canadian Press