Sask small biz optimism improves slightly in April

Regina, April 28, 2016 - Today, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest monthly Business Barometer®, which reveals optimism among small business owners in Saskatchewan improved slightly in April to 48.8, up 1.8 points from 47.0 in March, but still below the national average index of 59.2.

“After the significant dive in optimism levels at the beginning of the year, Saskatchewan saw a small improvement in its Index in April, reaching 48.8. However, hiring plans are still muted with 19 per cent of business owners looking to hire full-time staff over the next three months and 17 per cent looking to cut back on staff,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Vice-President, Prairie & Agri-business. “Given the decline in resource revenues it will be important for the upcoming 2016-17 Saskatchewan Budget to hold the line on taxes and at the same time introduce a plan to restore us back to balance.”

Canada’s small business confidence rebounded nearly seven points in April, climbing to 59.2, its highest mark since last June.

“While we often see spikes in a single month of data, the size of this increase suggests the long-awaited confidence normalization has begun,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s Chief Economist.

Sentiment also rose in 6 of the 10 provinces. British Columbia climbed three points in April, reaching 65.4, good for second highest in the country. Alberta finally stopped its four-month slide, increasing two points to 28.6, though still has the lowest confidence in the country by far. Saskatchewan saw a small improvement to 48.8. Manitoba held steady at 54.0. Ontario jumped five points to 62.6, while Quebec slipped three to 62.2, still above the national average. Newfoundland and Labrador fell to a new provincial record low at 46.4. Nova Scotia fell a point to 64.6. New Brunswick’s confidence increased four points to 57.5. Prince Edward Island rose to 70.8, good for best in the country. Results and the full report are available here.

Highlights of the Saskatchewan Business Barometer for April:

  • 28% of businesses in Saskatchewan say their overall state of business is good (38% nationally), 21% say it is bad (17% nationally).
  • 19% of Saskatchewan businesses plan to increase full-time employment in the next 3-4 months (22% nationally) and 17% plan to decrease employment (12% nationally).
  • Insufficient domestic demand remains the main operating challenge (55%); followed by the shortage of skilled labour (26%).
  • Major cost pressures for small business include: tax, regulatory costs (50%), wage costs (48%) and insurance costs (38%).

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. April 2016 findings are based on 672 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through April 18. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.8 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.