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Manitoba small biz optimism declines slightly in July

Winnipeg, July 28, 2016 – Today, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest Business Barometer® index, which shows small business optimism in Manitoba declined slightly in July to an index of 56.4, down 1.4 points from 57.8 in June. This index level is below the national index of 57.6 and is 5.3 points below Manitoba’s optimism in July of last year (61.7).

“After four months of increased optimism, we now see Manitoba’s small business optimism levelling. Entrepreneurs continue to cite insufficient domestic demand as their top operating challenge,” noted Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Vice-President Prairie & Agri-Business. “Short term hiring plans are muted with equal shares (13 per cent) of business owners looking to hire full-time staff as looking to lay them off. One-third of owners say their businesses are in good shape—a low proportion in comparison to most provinces.”

Canada’s small business owners were a little less confident in July. Nationally, optimism fell back to 57.6 this month, from 60.0—the 13-month high recorded in June. The recovery from cyclical lows in small business confidence reached in early 2016, therefore, remains choppy.

Index declines were seen this month in six of 10 provinces, including; British Columbia (66.4), New Brunswick (63.3), Ontario (61.2), Nova Scotia (58.5), Manitoba (56.4) and Saskatchewan (51.1). Notable improvements in Prince Edward Island (68.8), Quebec (64.1), Newfoundland & Labrador (50.0), and Alberta (46.7) helped temper the drop in the national average. Results and the full report are available here.

Highlights of the Manitoba Business Barometer for July:

  • 34% of small businesses in Manitoba say their overall state of business is good (39% nationally); 14% say it is bad (14% nationally).
  • 13% of Manitoba small businesses plan to increase full-time employment in the next 3-4 months (18% nationally), and 13% plan to decrease employment (12% nationally).
  • Insufficient domestic demand remains the main operating challenge (40%), followed by management skills/time constraints (36%), and shortage of skilled labour (34%).
  • Major cost pressures for small business include: tax/regulatory costs (65%), wage costs (53%), and insurance costs (52%).


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. July 2016 findings are based on 642 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through July 19. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.9 per cent 19 times in 20.

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.

To arrange an interview with Marilyn Braun-Pollon, Vice-President Prairie & Agri-business 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.

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

July 28, 2016

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