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Manitoba small biz confidence falls in January

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Winnipeg, January 28, 2016 – Today, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest Business Barometer® index, which shows small business optimism in Manitoba fell five points to an index of 61.4 in January from an index of 66.4 in December. This index level is below Manitoba’s five year average of 63.5 and above the national index of 54.3.

“The lack of a competitive small business climate in Manitoba leaves entrepreneurs with little protection from the economic drag of global and national factors,” noted Elliot Sims, CFIB’s Director of Provincial Affairs for Manitoba. “With tax and regulatory costs cited as the largest constraint of Manitoba entrepreneurs, clearly the provincial government has a role to play in ensuring its policies help, not hinder small business growth”

Nationally, the almost steady decline in small business optimism seen through 2015 has stayed on trend for the first month of 2016. The Business Barometer® Index reached a new post-recession low of 54.3 in January--about 10 points below the level associated with normal economic growth.

“We’re still caught in the throes of the fallout from the flailing resources sector that’s been sending Alberta spiraling downward and dragging the rest of the country along with it,” said Ted Mallett, CFIBchief economist. “The weak dollar is also sinking confidence – this month saw a record response (38 per cent) in businesses feeling squeezed by currency-related costs.”

Optimism dropped three points in British Columbia to 62.8. Alberta set yet another Barometer® record low, falling to 28.8, far and away the weakest in the country and 26 points below their score in January of 2015. Saskatchewan rose two points to 58.7, while Manitoba fell five points to 61.4. Ontario dropped to 58.4, its lowest mark since 2013 and well behind Quebec, which saw a two point jump to 61.2, one of its best readings since 2013. Newfoundland and Labrador’s slipped to 63.2. Nova Scotia fell two points, but its 69.0 mark is the strongest in Canada by far. New Brunswick’s confidence rose to 62.8. Prince Edward Island fell a point to 60.3.

Results and the full report are available here.

Measured on a scale of 0 and 100, an index level above 50 means owners expecting their businesses’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. According to past results, index levels normally range between 65 and 70 when the economy is growing at its potential.

January 2016 findings are based on 712 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through January 18. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.7 per cent 19 times in 20.

To arrange an interview with Elliot Sims, Director of Provincial Affairs, Manitoba on the provincial results, please call 1 888-234-2232, 204-982-0817 or email [email protected]. 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 call 416-222-8022 or email [email protected]. You may also follow Ted on Twitter @cfibeconomics.

Business Barometer® is a monthly publication of the CFIB and is a registered trademark.