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Manitoba small biz optimism climbs in May

According to the latest monthly Business Barometer®, optimism among small business owners in Manitoba increased three points in May to an index of 66.4, compared to 63.5 in April. The Manitoba index now sits slightly above the national index of 66.0.

Short-term hiring plans continue to improve, with 15 per cent of business owners looking to hire and eight per cent looking to lay off. Similar to last month’s reading, about 40 per cent of business owners say their businesses are in good shape— a lower proportion than the national results.

Manitoba’s index is almost nine points ahead of its May 2016 index of 57.7 and also above Manitoba’s five year average (61.2).

Nationally, the month of May saw another gain in small business sentiment across the country. CFIB's monthly Business BarometerÒ Index progressed another point and a half upward to hit 66.0—its best level in two and a half years. With that increase, the Index has pretty much recovered its losses from the resource price crunch, which began in late 2014.

The index improvement, however, was narrowly based regionally—centred mainly in British Columbia (69.4)Manitoba (66.4) and Alberta (61.9). Seasonal factors likely contributed to an improvement in Prince Edward Island (67.9) and Newfoundland and Labrador (45.3), but there was a slight fallback in sentiment in Ontario (68.2), Quebec (65.0)New Brunswick (60.2) and Nova Scotia (64.4)Saskatchewan business owners showed an even steeper decline in optimism to 49.1. Results and the full report are available at: Business Barometer.

Highlights of the Manitoba Business Barometer for May:

  • 40% of small businesses in Manitoba say their overall state of business is good (43% nationally); 11% say it is bad (11% nationally).
  • 15% of Manitoba small businesses plan to increase full-time employment in the next 3-4 months (21% nationally), and 8% plan to decrease employment (11% nationally).
  • Insufficient domestic demand remains the main operating challenge (39%), followed by management skills/time constraints (33%), and shortage of skilled labour (28%).
  • Major cost pressures for small business include: tax/regulatory costs (63%), wage costs (51%), and insurance costs (43%).

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. May 2017 findings are based on 673 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through May 15. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.8 per cent 19 times in 20.

May 31, 2017

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