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Manitoba small business optimism now well behind national average

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Winnipeg, November 30, 2017 – Today, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest Business Barometer®, which reveals small business optimism in Manitoba remained unchanged in November with an index of 55.3, compared to 55.5 in October, but is four points below the national average index of 59.3.

“For the fourth consecutive month, Manitoba small business optimism has fallen and now sits at its lowest level in 2017,” said Jonathan Alward, CFIB’s Director of Provincial Affairs for Manitoba. “On top of much uncertainty regarding the proposed federal tax changes, entrepreneurs are facing increasing CPP, EI premiums and a new carbon tax. If we look at the whole picture it’s no wonder small business owners are feeling much less confident than last year at this time (an index of 63.2 in November 2016).”

As we head into the holiday season, small business optimism in Canada is showing signs of improvement, according to the latest Business Barometer® survey. Following a small gain in October, the monthly index measuring small business optimism edged up another 2.0 points this month to 59.3 (out of 100).

“After a summer of discontent, it looks like we’re seeing a turnaround in confidence,” said Ted Mallett, Chief Economist at CFIB. “And, while we’re still very far off from the confidence levels we saw earlier in the year, there are some positive signs heading into the final month of the calendar year. In particular, there are improvements in both wage and capital spending plans.”

Provincial results were mixed: increasing confidence in Ontario (58.3), Alberta (56.2), Prince Edward Island (55.8) and Newfoundland and Labrador (49.0) were enough to offset lower optimism in the other provinces. Quebec (65.4) businesses remain the most optimistic in the country, despite its index losing points for the third month in a row. British Columbia (60.8) and Nova Scotia (59.9) lost ground as well, but indexes there remain just above the national average. Sentiment in Manitoba (55.3) and Saskatchewan (52.3) shows only a minor downgrade from October results, while New Brunswick (51.4) experienced a more dramatic drop. 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 (42% nationally); 11% say it is bad (11% nationally).
  • 14% of Manitoba small businesses plan to increase full-time employment in the next 3-4 months (14% nationally), and 15% plan to decrease employment (15% nationally).
  • Insufficient domestic demand remains the main operating challenge (35%), followed by management skills/time constraints (28%), and shortage of skilled labour (28%).
  • Major cost pressures for small business include: tax/regulatory costs (66%), wage costs (54%), and fuel, energy costs (38%).

 

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 2017 findings are based on 698 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through November 20. 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.