Business Barometer®: Manitoba small business optimism remains steady in November

Winnipeg, November 29, 2018 – Today, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest monthly Business Barometer®, which reveals optimism among Manitoba’s small business owners declined slightly in November to an index of 61.3, down from 62.2 in October. It is now just above the national average index of 61.2. 
“Manitoba's small business optimism remained steady in November, with the index giving back the point it gained in the previous month and settled at 61.3,” said Jonathan Alward, CFIB’s Director of Provincial Affairs for Manitoba. “Similar to previous months, equal shares of Manitoba entrepreneurs are looking to hire staff as to cut back (13%). These numbers indicate that the Manitoba economy continues to operate below its potential.”
“With serious concerns about the federal government’s tax changes, CPP increases, and a federally-imposed carbon tax, small businesses are feeling the pressure,” added Alward. “That’s why business owners will be looking for tax relief in the upcoming 2019 federal and provincial budgets.”

Nationally, small business confidence continued its path of flat and unspectacular performance in November. At 61.2, CFIB’s Business BarometerÒ Index was 0.7 points higher than in October, but only really back in line with readings from August and September. The mood should be better. Relative to GDP growth, the Index has, since 2015, been underperforming by about 5 points. 

Provincial results: Quebec confidence plummets

Quebec experienced another major drop in confidence this month, falling to 60.9 index points. Prince Edward Island lost some of its confidence, but remained the most optimistic province at 69.2, followed by New Brunswick at 67.2, which experienced the greatest confidence gain. British Columbia experienced a modest gain to 63.1 index points. Ontario (62.1) and Manitoba (61.3) lost confidence, but remained near the national average. Nova Scotia (55.1), Alberta (53.8), Newfoundland and Labrador (51.8) and Saskatchewan (49.4) all remained below the national average.

Highlights of the Manitoba Business Barometer® for November:

  • 31% of businesses in Manitoba say their overall state of business is good (42% nationally); 9% say it is bad (11% nationally);
  • 13% plan to increase employment in the next 3-4 months (18% nationally) and 13% of Manitoba businesses plan to decrease full-time employment (14% nationally);
  • Shortage of skilled labour is the main operating challenge (38%), followed by insufficient domestic demand (31%) and management skills, time constraints (28%);
  • Major cost pressures for small business include: tax, regulatory costs (64%), wage costs (61%), fuel, energy costs (51%) and insurance costs (43%).

Read the November 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 performance. One normally sees an index level of between 65 and 70 when the economy is growing at its potential. November 2018 findings are based on 707 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through November 16. 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 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 contact Milena Stanoeva at 647-464-2814 or  You may also follow Ted on Twitter @cfibeconomics. 

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.