OTTAWA (CP) -- Canadian manufacturers say the worsening economy has yet to hit bottom and will get worse in the months to come.
The dour outlook is contained in a survey of 620 companies conducted in February which found more firms expecting to lay off workers as orders for new business drop over the next few months.
The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters survey shows 60 percent of firms, particularly smaller companies, experiencing difficulty obtaining loans as a result of the global credit crunch.
The survey finds 56 percent of respondents saying new orders will likely decrease from now to May.
That's a significant increase from the 43 percent who were pessimistic about business conditions in the January survey.
As well, 45 percent say they expect to reduce their workforce, a slight increase from the previous month.
"The findings indicate that we haven't hit financial rock bottom just yet," said association president Jayson Myers.
"Unfortunately we will see more layoffs and more plant closures making this downturn the worst economic recession since the Great Depression".
Myers said the findings underscore the urgency of federal budget measures to increase credit in Canada and urged Ottawa to move swiftly on the issue.