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Manitoba small biz optimism increases again in July; reaches 5 year high

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Winnipeg, July 27, 2017 – Today, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest Business Barometer® index, which shows that small business optimism in Manitoba increased 1.8 points in July to an index of 68.9, compared to 67.1 in June. The Manitoba index now sits well above the national index of 60.7, and 12.5points above Manitoba’s July 2016 reading.

“Small business optimism in Manitoba increased for the third month in a row to its highest level in five years,” said Jonathan Alward, CFIB’s Director of Provincial Affairs for Manitoba. “Short-term hiring plans also kept positive with 15 per cent of business owners looking to hire and 9 per cent looking to cut back.”

Canada's small business optimism failed to pick itself up in July, slipping 0.2 points to 60.7, according to the CFIB’s Business Barometer®.

“Below par results in Ontario are continuing to weigh down cross-country confidence,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB Chief Economist. “We also saw small declines across western Canada which muted stronger results in Manitoba, Quebec and the Atlantic region. Overall the results are mediocre by historical standards, but in line with the sentiment we’ve seen over the last half of last year.”

British Columbia (65.9) and Alberta (57.3) both saw confidence fall by four points in July, while Saskatchewan (50.0)saw a two point dip. Ontario (59.5) recovered a point and a half after its 10 point plummet last month. Manitoba (68.9)’s confidence increased by nearly two points to reach a five-year high. Quebec (68.9) saw a three point gain, while Prince Edward Island (73.8) leapt six points to top spot in the country. Nova Scotia (66.9) confidence increased by three points, and New Brunswick (63.9) held steady. Optimism remains subdued in Newfoundland and Labrador (51.8), but a three and a half point increase in July means it’s no longer the lowest in the country. Results and the full report are available at: Business Barometer.

Highlights of the Manitoba Business Barometer for July:

  • 46% of small businesses in Manitoba say their overall state of business is good (43% nationally); 5% say it is bad (10% nationally).
  • 15% of Manitoba small businesses plan to increase full-time employment in the next 3-4 months (14% nationally), and 9% plan to decrease employment (12% nationally).
  • Insufficient domestic demand remains the main operating challenge (37%), followed by management skills/time constraints (31%), and shortage of skilled labour (26%).
  • Major cost pressures for small business include: tax/regulatory costs (62%), wage costs (49%), and insurance costs (40%).

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 2017 findings are based on 710 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through July 18. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.7 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 [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.

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.