Business Barometer®: Manitoba small business optimism continues climb in August

Winnipeg, August 29, 2019 – Today, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest monthly Business Barometer®, which reveals optimism among small business owners in Manitoba improved again in August to an index of 62.1, up 2.0 points from 60.1 in July. The index remains above the national average index of 60.6. 

“While Manitoba’s business optimism increased again in August to an index of 62.1, it remains below levels in both August 2018 and August 2017,” said Jonathan Alward, CFIB’s director of provincial affairs for Manitoba. “It is clear that the province’s small businesses need tax relief, and there is little doubt that owners are paying close attention to the upcoming provincial and federal elections to find out which candidates are committing to meaningful tax relief.” 

Nationally, small business optimism improved slightly in August, rising 2.8 index points to 60.6 on the CFIB’s Business Barometer®.

“It’s always good to see sentiment advance, but this is only the second time this year that business confidence has been above the 60-point mark,” said Simon Gaudreault, CFIB’s senior director of national research. “Clearly, we still have room to improve, as reflected in this month’s weak hiring plans.”

Provincial results: Eight out of 10 provinces post higher results

Quebec (67.7) had the highest confidence level in the country, followed by Nova-Scotia (67.2), which also experienced the greatest increase in optimism. Prince Edward Island (66.7), Manitoba (62.1) and New Brunswick (61.3) also posted results above the national average. Ontario experienced a 3.9 index point increase but came in just below the national average with 59.9. Newfoundland & Labrador gained 3.2 index points, but was the least optimistic province at 53.2, followed by Alberta (54.3), British Columbia (55.3) and Saskatchewan (55.4).

Highlights of the Manitoba Business Barometer for August:

  • 48% of businesses in Manitoba say their overall state of business is good (41% nationally); 12% say it is bad (10% nationally);
  • 19% plan to increase employment in the next 3 months (16% nationally) and 10% of Manitoba businesses plan to decrease full-time employment (13% nationally);
  • Shortage of skilled labour is the main operating challenge (41%), followed by insufficient domestic demand (31%) and management skills, time constraints (26%);
  • Major cost pressures for small business include: tax, regulatory costs (68%), wage costs (58%), and fuel, energy costs (54%).

Read the August Business Barometer®

Measured on a scale of 0 and 100, an index level above 50 means owners expecting their business’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. One normally sees an index level of between 65 and 70 when the economy is growing at its potential. August 2019 findings are based on 661 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through August 19. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.8 per cent 19 times in 20.

To arrange an interview with Jonathan Alward, Director of Provincial Affairs for Manitoba on the provincial results, please call 204-982-0817 or email You can also follow CFIB Manitoba on Twitter @cfibMB.

To arrange an interview with Simon Gaudreault, CFIB’s Senior Director of National Research on the national results please contact Milena Stanoeva at 647-464-2814 or
About CFIB
CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members (4,800 in Manitoba) across every sector and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings.