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Small Business Pulse May 2011

BC’s Business Starts

After three consecutive months of increasing business starts, BC business registrations dropped in April, back to where they were in December. There were a thousand fewer business starts in April, dropping to 4,500.  Registrations reached 5,504 in March, the highest since January 2008 when SBBC started tracking them.

April’s decline was driven by close to six hundred fewer incorporations while proprietorships declined by over three hundred. Partnerships and extra-provincial incorporations were also down.

There were 150 fewer businesses started this April compared to April 2010. 56,146 BC businesses have registered over the past 12 months, generating an increase of 5% compared to the previous 12 months.  The average number of monthly business starts in BC over this period was 4,679.

BC’s Business Bankruptcies

BC business bankruptcies dropped by 14 bankruptcies to 8 in February, the lowest level since Small Business BC started reporting them in January 2008.

The average number of bankruptcies over the last 12 months continues to be lower than the previous 12 months. There has been a 40% drop in business bankruptcies with only 213 businesses over the last twelve months, compared to 353 for the previous twelve months.

Since the fourth quarter of 2007, BC business bankruptcies have been repeating every three quarters, a peak then two declining quarters. The last quarter of 2010 defied this trend by dropping slightly instead of increasing, with only 46 BC business bankruptcies in Q4 of 2010 compared to 50 in Q3.

BC’s Self-Employed

The number of BC self-employed increased in April by 5,400 (1.3%) to 431,500.

There were 2% fewer self-employed this April compared to April 2010, an 8,500 difference.

The recent rise in BC self-employed began in Febuary when the number of employees dropped and uemployment increased. Self-employment increased by 6% between January and February while the number of employees dropped by 1% and the number of unemployed increased by 9%.

Small Business Average Weekly Wages

BC’s small businesses employees ranked sixth out of the 13 provinces and territories for weekly wages, at the end of 2010. Small businesses in the resource rich regions of Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Alberta, and the Yukon paid their employees on average over $800, raising the national average to $748; while BC small businesses paid their employees an average of $746 per week.

Small Business Weekly Pay Cheque Growth

BC’s small businesses increased the weekly average pay cheque to their employees by $88 over the last five years; less than the national average of $96. Nunavut reported the largest growth in weekly pay cheques with an additional $180 for the period, while Prince Edward Island reported the smallest increase of $73.

Top 10 Small Business Pay Cheques

In 2010, the utilities sector reported the largest average weekly pay cheque of $1,343. Businesses in this sector included suppliers of maintenance services to hydro, natural gas, and other alternative forms of power generation. The second largest pay cheque on average came from the mining, quarrying, oil and gas extraction sector. Employees in this sector received an average weekly pay cheque of $1,303. Businesses in this sector include exploration and testing companies related to mining, oil, and gas.

Mark Eversfield

About Mark Eversfield

Mark is a Market Research Analyst and has worked at Small Business BC for over 25 years. He specializes in helping clients with market research.