TORONTO - A new survey suggests most Canadian exporters are still experiencing depleted order books but there are indications things aren't as bad as they were a month ago and the future looks brighter.
The association that represents Canadian manufacturers and exporters said Thursday that 57 per cent of respondents to its May survey had seen orders decline compared with three months before.
But that was an improvement from Canadian Manufacturing and Exporters survey in April, when the number reporting declines was 65 per cent.
What's more, number of respondents in the survey's worst-hit category has fallen dramatically.
''Companies reporting that orders have fallen more than 30 per cent compared to three months ago make up only 13 per cent of respondents this month compared to last month (18 per cent).
''This continues a positive long-term trend; in January's survey, it was 21 per cent,'' the association said.
In addition, 18 per cent of the 629 companies polled from May 11 to 20 found their orders were up - seven percentage points higher than in either April or March.
Looking ahead, the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters survey found more respondents were expecting the value of orders will increase over the next three months.
It found 34 per cent of respondents expected orders to fall between May and April, compared with 37 per cent in April and 49 per cent in March.
''A majority (66 per cent) of respondents report that they expect the value of new orders to stay the same or increase in value over the next three months, which is slightly higher than the 63 per cent who predicted similar sales last month,'' the survey said.
Half of the respondents said they expected employment to stay about the same over the next three months, while 38 per cent expected a decrease and 12 per cent an increase from current levels.