Manitoba small biz optimism declines slightly in April

Winnipeg, April 27, 2017 – Today, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest Business Barometer® index, which shows that small business optimism in Manitoba declined slightly again in April to an index of 63.5, compared to 64.5 in March.

“Manitoba small business optimism fell slightly again this month, and short-term hiring plans remain modest,” said Jonathan Alward, CFIB’s Director of Provincial Affairs for Manitoba. “However, Manitoba’s index is almost ten points ahead of its April 2016 index of 54.0, and above its five year average of 61.2.”

Nationally, Canada's small business optimism is on the rise again in April. CFIB's monthly Business Barometer® Index gained a point and a half to finish the month at 64.4—its best level since November 2014.

“The Index is less than a point shy of its 2010-14 average,” elaborated Ted Mallett, Chief Economist at CFIB. “This suggests that while lingering effects of the oil price shock persist in some regions, business expectations are readjusting to a new set of economic drivers.”

April's national gains were supported mostly by strong optimism growth in Ontario (68.7)British Columbia (67.1) and continuing improvements in business sentiment in Alberta (57.9). Relative weakness, however, persists in Newfoundland & Labrador (43.8) and Saskatchewan (55.1), which have both seen little improvement in optimism levels for a number of months. There is broad uniformity, though, in the remaining provinces, where index levels cluster around the mid-60s, suggesting general robustness to the business outlook. Results and the full report are available at: Business Barometer.

Highlights of the Manitoba Business Barometer for April:

  • 40% of small businesses in Manitoba say their overall state of business is good (42% nationally); 10% say it is bad (12% nationally).
  • 13% of Manitoba small businesses plan to increase full-time employment in the next 3-4 months (17% nationally), and 7% plan to decrease employment (13% nationally).
  • Insufficient domestic demand remains the main operating challenge (39%), followed by management skills/time constraints (33%), and shortage of skilled labour (23%).
  • Major cost pressures for small business include: tax/regulatory costs (62%), wage costs (48%), and fuel, energy costs (39%).

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. April 2017 findings are based on 653 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through April 16. 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 1 888-234-2232, 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 call (416) 222-8022 or email You may also follow Ted on Twitter @cfibeconomics.

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

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members (4,800 in Manitoba) across every sector and region.