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Manitoba small biz optimism rebounds in November

Winnipeg, November 24, 2016 – Today, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest Business Barometer® index, which shows that small business optimism in Manitoba jumped significantly in November to an index of 63.2, up 7.6 points from 55.6 in October. This index level is above the national index of 59.4.

“It’s encouraging to see small business optimism in Manitoba rebound in November, bringing optimism levels back to roughly where they were at the start of the year,” said Jonathan Alward, CFIB’s Director of Provincial Affairs for Manitoba. “However, short-term hiring plans are still muted with equal shares of business owners (14%) looking to hire as to lay off.”

“It’s evident the provincial government’s recent positive steps to improve the business climate are being noticed by Manitoba’s entrepreneurs,” added Alward. “But we know there is a lot more work to be done to address the province’s outstanding competitive challenges.”

Nationally, small business optimism moved up slightly in November, but has remained within a narrow horizontal track since this past April. CFIB's Business Barometer Index now stands at 59.4, up less than 2 points over October's 57.7.

“We’re seeing a general stability in the numbers at the moment,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB chief-economist. “There are some indicators in the energy producing provinces that are a cause for concern, such as Alberta’s low number of owners looking to hire, but there is slight momentum in places like BC.”

Movements in the index across the provinces were balanced, rising in five and falling in five—including those with the least optimistic business owners: Alberta (37.3), Newfoundland & Labrador (42.3) and Saskatchewan (51.3). Leading optimism again were owners in Prince Edward Island (71.4) and British Columbia (69.0), both with improving sentiment over October readings. Optimism in the rest of the country showed more consistency with index levels ranging in a narrow five-point range: Nova Scotia (64.9), Quebec (63.8), Manitoba (63.2), Ontario (62.2) and New Brunswick (59.4). Results and the full report are available here.

Highlights of the Manitoba Business Barometer for November:

  • 38% of small businesses in Manitoba say their overall state of business is good (38% nationally); 7% say it is bad (13% nationally).
  • 14% of Manitoba small businesses plan to increase full-time employment in the next 3-4 months (15% nationally), and 14% plan to decrease employment (20% nationally).
  • Insufficient domestic demand remains the main operating challenge (39%), followed by management skills/time constraints (35%), and shortage of skilled labour (31%).
  • Major cost pressures for small business include: tax/regulatory costs (61%), wage costs (47%), and insurance costs (44%).


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. November 2016 findings are based on 623 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through November 12. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.9 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.

November 24, 2016

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