Business Barometer®: Saskatchewan short-term small business optimism slips in October

The 3-month indicator on optimism fell to 43.3 points, while the 12-month indicator rose to 57.9 points


Regina, October 29, 2020 – The monthly Business Barometer® index for Saskatchewan shows short-term small business optimism fell 2.5 points to an index of 43.3 in October, while the long-term optimism improved by 2.9 points to an index of 57.9 according to the latest survey results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). 

“The disparity between the two indicators suggests Saskatchewan small businesses have a steep hill to climb on the path to recovery, but are optimistic that recovery is indeed in their future,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s vice-president, Western Canada & Agri-business. “The new government’s commitments to a number of cost relief measures are welcomed, but we know additional help will be needed, especially if further restrictions are introduced.”

Nationally, the index took a tumble in October amid new concerns about a second wave of COVID-19, falling 5.9 index points to 53.3. Businesses were operating at a little under 71 per cent capacity for the month, with no improvements since August. Staffing intentions saw a slight decrease, with 28 per cent of businesses planning to reduce full-time staff in the next three months and 12 per cent planning to hire. 

“The jump in COVID-19 cases is cause for anxiety in the small business sector, especially as some regions have renewed restrictions on businesses in the hospitality and personal services sectors, but the decline in optimism is pretty broad based,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s chief economist.

Provincial results: Optimism dropped in seven out of 10 provinces

All but three provinces saw a drop in optimism this month. Quebec (42.2), Prince Edward Island (44.0) and Newfoundland and Labrador (49.2) were the most downcast. Business owners in Nova Scotia (63.1) and British Columbia (60.3) posted the highest results. Saskatchewan (57.9) Ontario (57.3), New Brunswick (56.1), Manitoba (56.1) and Alberta (52.0) posted results close to the national average. 

Highlights of the Saskatchewan Business Barometer for October:

  • 27% of businesses in Saskatchewan say their overall state of business is good (31% nationally); 26% say it is bad (27% nationally);
  • 10% plan to increase employment in the next 3 months (12% nationally) and 27% of Saskatchewan businesses plan to decrease full-time employment (28% nationally); and 
  • Saskatchewan businesses’ average capacity utilization is at 73.6% of full capacity (up 0.2 percentage points from the end of September).

Read the October Business Barometer®.

October 2020 findings are based on 1,151 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received from October 5 to 19. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 2.9 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
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members (5,250 in Saskatchewan) across every industry 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.