Business Barometer®: Saskatchewan long-term small business outlook improves; short-term challenges remain

Regina, August 27, 2020 – Today, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest monthly Business Barometer®, which reveals the 12-month small business outlook in Saskatchewan rose to an index of 62.9 in August, and is now almost four points higher than the national average index of 59.2. However, the province’s short-term (3 month) outlook remains significantly lower at 40.9.
“The August barometer results suggest Saskatchewan small business owners are hopeful things will improve next year, but we know that it’s far from ‘business as usual’ today for many employers across the province,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Vice-President, Western Canada and Agri-Business. “Other key indicators show a difficult path to recovery with only 20 per cent of Saskatchewan entrepreneurs saying their current state of business is in good shape, while 32 per cent say their business is in bad shape. Hiring plans also remain weak with just six per cent of business owners planning to hire full-time staff in the next three months, while 28 per cent still foresee lay-offs.”
Nationally, the 12-month small business outlook dipped 2 index points to 59.2 in August. The three-month outlook also remains significantly lower at 40.9 index points.

“What ‘good performance’ means has changed for small business owners. Many may see just being here in 12 months as success,” said Ted Mallett, Chief Economist at CFIB. “Key performance indicators point to a sluggish but steady recovery, but capacity utilization remains low, particularly in the hospitality and arts and recreation sectors.” 

Provincial results: Quebec and Prince Edward Island remain least optimistic

Nova Scotia was the most upbeat province at 68.0 index points, followed by Alberta (64.3), Ontario (63.1) and Saskatchewan (62.9). Quebec (43.9), Prince Edward Island (47.9) and New Brunswick (56.5) were the most downcast provinces. Newfoundland and Labrador (60.6), Manitoba (59.3) and British Columbia (58.2) stuck close to the national average.
Highlights of the Saskatchewan Business Barometer for August:

  • 20% of businesses in Saskatchewan say their overall state of business is good (26% nationally); 32% say it is bad (27% nationally);
  • 6% plan to increase employment in the next 3 months (14% nationally) and 28% of Saskatchewan businesses plan to decrease full-time employment (25% nationally); and 
  • Saskatchewan businesses’ average capacity utilization is at 70.2% of full capacity (up 6.6% from the end of July).

Read the August 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. One normally sees an index level of between 65 and 70 when the economy is growing at its potential. The August findings are based on 687 responses from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received from August 4 to 17. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.7 per cent 19 times in 20.
To arrange an interview with Marilyn Braun-Pollon, Vice-President, Western Canada & Agri-business on the provincial results, please call 306-539-6302 or email You may follow CFIB Saskatchewan on Twitter @cfibsk.
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

About CFIB
CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members (5,250 in Saskatchewan) 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