Sask small biz optimism improves again in June; still below national index

Regina, June 30, 2016 - Today, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest monthly Business Barometer®, which reveals optimism among small business owners in Saskatchewan increased again in June to an index of 54.8, up 3.3 points from 51.5 in May, but still remains below the national average index of 60.0.

“While Saskatchewan's small business optimism improved for the third month in a row, net hiring plans are almost non-existent with 14 per cent of business owners looking to hire full-time staff over the next three months while 10 per cent are looking to reduce personnel,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Vice-President, Prairie & Agri-business. Only 33 per cent of respondents say their businesses are in good shape – one of the lowest readings for this indicator registered in Saskatchewan. While 18 per cent say their firms are in poor shape.

Canada’s small business confidence rebounded two points in June to reach 60.0, its highest mark in just over a year.

“We’re seeing improvements in several key indicators including an increase in new orders and a pick up in the state of accounts receivable,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB Chief Economist. “June also saw a big drop-off in the proportion of business owners expressing concerns about the level of consumer demand. However, employment plans continue to be modest for the time of year.”

Overall, business owners posted improvements in 7 of 10 provinces. Leading the pack with an index score of 69.3 are those in British Columbia, followed closely by the 68.0 from Prince Edward Island businesses. Provinces at the other end of spectrum—Alberta (42.5), Newfoundland and Labrador (45.8) and Saskatchewan (54.8)—all registered much-welcome improvements this month. Optimism leapt in New Brunswick (64.9) and there were modest improvements in Quebec (61.6) and Manitoba (57.8). Declines in sentiment in Ontario and Nova Scotia (both at 61.5) helped restrain the national average. Results and the full report are available here.

Highlights of the Saskatchewan Business Barometer for June:

  • 33% of businesses in Saskatchewan say their overall state of business is good (40% nationally), 18% say it is bad (14% nationally).
  • 14% of Saskatchewan businesses plan to increase full-time employment in the next 3-4 months (17% nationally) and 10% plan to decrease employment (10% nationally).
  • Insufficient domestic demand remains the main operating challenge (54%); followed by the shortage of skilled labour (26%).
  • Major cost pressures for small business include: tax, regulatory costs (52%), wage costs (46%) and insurance costs (39%).

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. According to past results, index levels normally range between 65 and 70 when the economy is growing at its potential. June 2016 findings are based on 743 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through June 20. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.6 per cent 19 times in 20.

To arrange an interview with Marilyn Braun-Pollon, Vice-President Prairie & Agri Business on the provincial results please call (306) 757-0000, 1-888-234-2232 or email You may follow CFIB Saskatchewan on Twitter @cfibsk.

To arrange an interview with Ted Mallett, Vice-President & Chief Economist on the national results, please call       (416) 222-8022 or email You may also follow Ted on Twitter @cfibeconomics.

Business Barometer® is a monthly publication of the CFIB and is a registered trademark.