Labour costs among top 3 challenges for employers

Reduced consumer spending, energy costs, material costs also concerns: Survey

When it comes to the greatest challenges facing Canadian businesses this year, labour costs (16 per cent) make the top three, according to a survey by BMO Bank of Montreal.
Also top concerns are reduced consumer spending (22 per cent), energy costs (16 per cent), increased raw material costs (11 per cent), global economic challenges (nine per cent) and the performance of the United States economy (seven per cent).
However, one-third (32 per cent) of business owners believe the U.S. economy will pick up after next week’s election on Nov. 6, while 27 per cent believe the opposite, according to the survey of 500 employers.
"Without question, the overall health of the U.S. economy has a direct impact on the growth plans and performance of a significant number of Canadian businesses," said Steve Murphy, senior vice-president of commercial banking at BMO Bank of Montreal. 
"Canada's outlook still depends quite heavily on the fate of the U.S. economy, with more than 70 per cent of our exports bound for that market," said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets. "While that share has dropped from more than 80 per cent ten years ago, no other economy comes close to the U.S. weight in our trade flows."

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