CFIB News Release: Manitoba's small business optimism settles in May

Business Barometer®:
CFIB News Release: Manitoba's small business optimism settles in May

Winnipeg, May 28, 2020 – Today, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest monthly Business Barometer®, which reveals optimism among small business owners in Manitoba declined at the end of May to an index of 50.0, down from 57.3 earlier in the month. The index is now 2.5 points below the national average index of 52.5.

“While small business optimism cooled in Manitoba late in the month, sentiment remains higher than it was this time in April (45.0),” said Jonathan Alward, CFIB’s director, prairie region. “Importantly, the capacity utilization climbed from earlier in May so it seems that business is picking up now that many shops can be partially open.”

National small business confidence has plateaued at the end of May, dropping by less than a full index point to 52.5 on the index.

“Despite the easing of restrictions in some parts of the country and continuing government assistance programs, market conditions and uncertainty about the future are holding back many firms,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s vice-president and chief economist. “Capacity utilization is up a few percentage points since last week, but still below 50 per cent and staffing plans continue to trend towards cuts in the coming months.”

Provincial results: Prince Edward Island and Quebec trail rest of the country

Nationally, small business confidence dropped less than a full index point to 52.5 points in the second half of May. The provincial results for May are: Nova Scotia (59.2), Ontario (57.1), Alberta (55.5), British Columbia (52.7), Saskatchewan (51.9), Manitoba (50.0), New Brunswick (47.8), Newfoundland and Labrador (43.5), Quebec (35.7), and Prince Edward Island (30.0).

Highlights of the Manitoba Business Barometer for May:

  • 23% of businesses in Manitoba say their overall state of business is good (14% nationally); 33% say it is bad (43% nationally);
  • 15% plan to increase employment in the next 3 months (13% nationally) and 29% of Manitoba businesses plan to decrease full-time employment (37% nationally);
  • Manitoba businesses’ average capacity utilization is at 63.7% of full capacity (increased 12.3% from early May)

Read the May 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 perform. One normally sees an index level of between 65 and 70 when the economy is growing at its potential. The mid-May findings are based on 1281 responses from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received on May 19 and 20th. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 2.7 per cent 19 times in 20.

To arrange an interview with Jonathan Alward, CFIB’s director, prairie region on the provincial results, please call 431-998-4498 or email You can also follow CFIB Manitoba on Twitter @cfibMB.

To arrange an interview with Ted Mallett, CFIB’s vice-president and chief economist 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. Learn more at