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Manitoba's small business optimism holds steady in January

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Winnipeg, January 30, 2020 – Today, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest monthly Business Barometer®, which reveals optimism among small business owners in Manitoba held steady in January with an index of 57.4, down 0.5 points from 57.9 in December. However, the index remains ahead (2.1 points) of the national average index.

“Manitoba's small businesses have not seen much change in optimism to start the year with the index hovering above the national average,” said Jonathan Alward, CFIB’s director, prairie region. “Similar to the end of 2019, full-time hiring plans for the next three months are also muted with 13 per cent of entrepreneurs looking to hire while 11 per cent are planning layoffs.”

Nationally, small business owners started off the new decade in a slump with the country’s optimism level falling 0.2 index points to 55.3.

“While Saskatchewan and Alberta are still the most downcast provinces, the rest of the country seems to be following their lead,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s vice-president and chief economist. “Staffing plans for the next three months, in particular, remain weak, with more business owners planning to lay off staff than those planning to hire.”

Provincial results: Muted sentiment in most provinces

Alberta remained the least optimistic province in the country, dropping 1.3 index points to 37.0. Saskatchewan posted the second lowest confidence level at 42.7, despite also gaining the most index points of any province over last month (+2.7). Newfoundland and Labrador (48.6) and British Columbia (56.4) were the only other provinces to experience confidence gains in January, but still posted results at or below the national average. Prince Edward Island (65.3) and Quebec (63.5) were the most upbeat provinces, but both experienced confidence losses. Sentiment also slipped in Ontario (59.9), Nova Scotia (59.5), New Brunswick (59.4) and Manitoba (57.4), pushing them below the 60 point mark.

Highlights of the Manitoba Business Barometer for January:

  • 34% of businesses in Manitoba say their overall state of business is good (40% nationally); 10% say it is bad (16% nationally);
  • 13% plan to increase employment in the next 3 months (16% nationally) and 11% of Manitoba businesses plan to decrease full-time employment (17% nationally);
  • Shortage of skilled labour is the main operating challenge (37%), followed by insufficient domestic demand (32%) and management skills, time constraints (28%);
  • Major cost pressures for small business include: tax, regulatory costs (68%), wage costs (56%), and fuel, energy costs (54%).

Read the January Business Barometer®.

Measured on a scale of 0 and 100, an index level above 50 means owners expecting their business’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker perform January 2020 findings are based on 864 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received from January 6th to the 20th. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.3 per cent 19 times in 20.ance. One normally sees an index level of between 65 and 70 when the economy is growing at its potential. October 2019 findings are based on 764 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received October 1 through the 21. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.5 per cent 19 times in 20.

To arrange an interview with Jonathan Alward, CFIB’s director, prairie region on the provincial results, please call 204-982-0817 or email [email protected]. You can also follow CFIB Manitoba on Twitter @cfibMB.

To arrange an interview with Ted Mallett, CFIB’s vice-president and chief economist on the national results please contact Milena Stanoeva at 647-464-2814 or [email protected].
 
About CFIB
CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members (4,800 in Manitoba) across every sector and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca.