Canadian entrepreneurs are the world’s most optimistic, eh?

Canadian entrepreneurs are the most optimistic in the world by a country mile, a new Ernst & Young report concludes.

Sixty-one per cent of Canadian entrepreneurs said theyfeel confidentabout the economic direction of their country. That far outstrips theconfidence levels found overall in Europe and Asia-Pacific (both at 49per cent), the UK and Australia (both with 29 per cent) and the U.S.specifically (24 per cent).

“In terms of optimism, it would be hard to top the Canadians,”according to a summary of the study released Thursday.

The report also found that 16 per cent of Canadian entrepreneursincreased their workforce in 2011, on par with the global average of 16per cent but a shade below the U.S. where 18 per cent had made newhires last year.

Overall, 68 per cent of the world’s entrepreneurs plan to hire workerslocally in 2012 while 44 per cent expect to hire from abroad. They’realso a generous lot, with 55 per cent serving as coaches or mentors toother entrepreneurs and 29 per cent making angel investments in otherstartups.

What’s bugging them? Well, almost a quarter cited government policiesas having a negative impact on them, followed by just over 15 per centblaming the regulatory climate in their home market and just over 10per cent complaining about the low quality of the workforce in theirarea.

The numbers were gathered this spring when researchers surveyed over8,000 winners of Ernst & Young’s Enterpreneur of the Year Awardfrom 35 countries about their views on hiring plans, economicconditions, and local versus overseas talent.

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