CFIB News Release: Saskatchewan small businesses cautiously optimistic at end of May; short-term hiring plans remain weak

Business Barometer®:
CFIB News Release: Saskatchewan small businesses cautiously optimistic at end of May; short-term hiring plans remain weak

Regina, May 28, 2020 – Today, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest monthly Business Barometer®, which reveals optimism among small business owners in Saskatchewan improved at the end of May to an index of 51.9, up from 44.8 earlier in the month. The index is just slightly below the national average index of 52.5.

“With many businesses throughout the province cautiously reopening, it is encouraging to see Saskatchewan’s small business optimism improve at the end of May to 51.9. However, hiring plans for the next three months remain weak with only 11 per cent of entrepreneurs planning to hire, while 30 per cent are planning lay-offs,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Vice-President, Western Canada and Agri-Business. “Even with a target date for Phase 3 of the reopening plan set for June 8th, it will not be business as usual as many small businesses will still face revenue shortfalls from slower foot traffic and concerns about reopening safely.”

National small business confidence has plateaued at the end of May, dropping by less than a full index point to 52.5 on the index.

“Despite the easing of restrictions in some parts of the country and continuing government assistance programs, market conditions and uncertainty about the future are holding back many firms,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s vice-president and chief economist. “Capacity utilization is up a few percentage points since last week, but still below 50 per cent and staffing plans continue to trend towards cuts in the coming months.”

Provincial results: Prince Edward Island and Quebec trail rest of the country

Nationally, small business confidence dropped less than a full index point to 52.5 points in the second half of May. The provincial results for May are: Nova Scotia (59.2), Ontario (57.1), Alberta (55.5), British Columbia (52.7), Saskatchewan (51.9), Manitoba (50.0), New Brunswick (47.8), Newfoundland and Labrador (43.5), Quebec (35.7), and Prince Edward Island (30.0).

Highlights of the Saskatchewan Business Barometer for May:

  • 26% of businesses in Saskatchewan say their overall state of business is good (14% nationally); 35% say it is bad (43% nationally);
  • 11% plan to increase employment in the next 3 months (13% nationally) and 30% of Saskatchewan businesses plan to decrease full-time employment (37% nationally); and
  • Saskatchewan businesses’ average capacity utilization is at 57% of full capacity (up 1.1% from early May)

Read the May 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. The mid-May findings are based on 1281 responses from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received on May 19 and 20th. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 2.7 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