CFIB News Release: Saskatchewan long-term small business optimism declines in September; short-term challenges remain

Business Barometer®

Regina, September 24, 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 declined to an index of 55.0 in September, and is now over four points lower than the national average index of 59.2. The province’s short-term (3 month) outlook improved but remains low at 45.8.
“Heading into the fall, it is evident Saskatchewan small business owners continue to struggle as they navigate many challenges. With the provincial election on October 26th, the province’s job creators will be watching closely to ensure all of the Party Leaders focus on how they would help small businesses and the economy fully recover,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Vice-President, Western Canada and Agri-Business. 
Nationally, the 12-month small business outlook saw no improvement in September, maintaining 59.2 index points. The three-month outlook was considerably lower at 39.7, a slight dip over last month.

“The gap between the 12-month and three-month outlooks tells us that many businesses are still facing significant difficulties,” said CFIB chief economist Ted Mallett. “Insufficient domestic demand is still the top factor limiting sales growth.”

Provincial results: Eastern Canada and Atlantic see both highest and lowest results

Quebec (45.2) and Prince Edward Island (50.0) were the standouts at the low end of the index this month. Manitoba (54.0), Saskatchewan (55.0), Newfoundland and Labrador (55.8), Alberta (59.2) and British Columbia (59.3) stuck close to the national average. On the other end of the spectrum, New Brunswick (64.5),  Ontario (65.4) and Nova Scotia (65.8) were the most upbeat provinces.
Highlights of the Saskatchewan Business Barometer for September:

  • 31% of businesses in Saskatchewan say their overall state of business is good (27% nationally); 25% say it is bad (28% nationally);
  • 10% plan to increase employment in the next 3 months (15% nationally) and 25% of Saskatchewan businesses plan to decrease full-time employment (25% nationally); and 
  • Saskatchewan businesses’ average capacity utilization is at 73.4% of full capacity (up 3.2 percentage points from the end of August).

Read the 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 September 2020 findings are based on 874 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received from September 2 to 14. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.3 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