04/07/2014 10:30 EDT | Updated 06/07/2014 05:59 EDT

Canada's Economic Outlook Improving, Bank Of Canada Business Survey Finds


OTTAWA - The latest Bank of Canada survey on business sentiment finds a decidedly more positive outlook, and that may be good news for Canadian workers.

The influential quarterly survey of 100 representative firms shows hiring intentions among the most positive in almost two years as company executives point to higher sales and better prospects going forward.

Somewhat surprisingly, firms are also reporting lower levels of labour shortages or skills mismatches, backing up a recent Parliamentary Budget Officer report on the controversial subject.

The most significant movement in the latest survey is that more firms are reporting growth in sales the past 12 months.

Canadian firms are also seeing increases in orders from both international and domestic customers and 53 per cent of the sample group said they expect to be hiring over the next year.

Only eight per cent of those surveyed by the central bank said they are planning to reduce staff.

The balance of opinion on purchasing new machinery and equipment to improve productivity or expand capacity also continued to edge up in the quarter.

The survey was conducted between March 10 and 17 and is sometimes cited by the central bank in its economic forecasts and interest rate setting decisions.

In a recent statement, Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz said he would pay more attention to anecdotal evidence and such surveys to inform the bank's outlook on the economy.

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