Business Barometer®: Manitoba small business optimism improves in June, but continues to trail national average

Winnipeg, June 27, 2019 - Today, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest monthly Business Barometer®, which reveals optimism among small business owners in Manitoba increased three points in June to an index of 55.4. However, Manitoba’s index is still six points below the national average index of 61.5.

“Manitoba’s small business confidence continued to improve in June, increasing three points to 55.4, but is still nearly 10 points below the range of index levels (65-70) normally associated when the economy is growing at its potential,” said Jonathan Alward, CFIB’s Director of Provincial Affairs for Manitoba. 

“While Manitoba’s small business owners welcome the PST cut to 7% on July 1st, small businesses have been hit with recent cost increases at every level of government,” added Alward. “Manitoba’s entrepreneurs will be paying close attention to the fall provincial and federal elections to see which parties place small businesses at the forefront and bring forward meaningful policies to improve Manitoba’s business climate.”

Nationally, small businesses had a sunnier outlook in June, with confidence levels going up nearly two index points to 61.5 on the CFIB’s Business Barometer®, the highest level since August 2018. 

“We saw confidence increases in nearly all provinces this month,” said CFIB’s Vice-President and Chief Economist, Ted Mallett. “Optimism levels are still behind what we saw in 2014 and have a way to go before they’re back to full health, but this month’s reading bodes well for long-term investment plans.”

Provincial results: Optimism gains in nearly all provinces

Confidence improved in nine out of 10 provinces this month. Prince Edward Island remained the most upbeat at 68.4, followed by Quebec (67.6), Nova Scotia (63.9 – the only province to register a minor dip this month), and Ontario (62.6). Alberta posted another optimism jump in June, climbing 7.2 index points to 59.0. Saskatchewan (54.5), Manitoba (55.4) and New Brunswick (57.2) also posted healthy index point gains. British Columbia (53.8) and Newfoundland & Labrador (50.0) posted more modest gains and trailed the rest of the country.

Highlights of the Manitoba Business Barometer for June:

  • 39% of businesses in Manitoba say their overall state of business is good (41% nationally); 19% say it is bad (13% nationally);
  • 17% plan to increase employment in the next 3 months (18% nationally) and 11% of Manitoba businesses plan to decrease full-time employment (10% nationally);
  • Major cost pressures for small business include: tax, regulatory costs (67%), wage costs (58%), and fuel, energy costs (54%);
  • Shortage of skilled labour remains the main operating challenge (41%), followed by insufficient domestic demand (33%) and management skills, time constraints (25%).

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. June 2019 findings are based on 711 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through June 17. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.7 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 Ted Mallett, Vice-President & Chief Economist on the national results please contact Milena Stanoeva at 647-464-2814 or You may also follow Ted on Twitter @cfibeconomics. 

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.