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

According to the latest monthly Business Barometer®, optimism among small business owners 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 has reached a five year high within the province.

Small business optimism in Manitoba increased for the third month in a row to its highest level in five years. Short-term hiring plans also kept positive with 15 per cent of business owners looking to hire and nine per cent looking to cut back. Similar to last month's reading, about 46 per cent of business owners say their businesses are in good shape, while only 5 per cent report that their firms are in poor shape.

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®.

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.