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Sask small biz optimism loses traction in July

Regina, July 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 dropped in July to an index of 51.1, down 3.7 points from 54.8 in June, and remains below the national average index of 57.6.

“Saskatchewan's small business optimism lost some traction in July with its index dropping to 51.1, erasing the gain seen in June. Hiring plans are non-existent, with nine per cent of business owners looking to hire full-time over the next three months while 10 per cent are looking to reduce staff,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Vice-President, Prairie & Agri-business. “It’s evident the excess moisture from significant rainfall throughout the province is impacting business optimism, with many farmers experiencing flooding and crop damage,” added Braun-Pollon. “However, the general state of business health has seen a small improvement with 43 per cent of business owners reporting their businesses are in good shape, while 16 per cent say their firms are in poor shape.”

Canada’s small business owners were a little less confident in July. National small business optimism fell back to 57.6 this month, from 60.0—the 13-month high we had recorded in June. The recovery from cyclical lows in small business confidence reached in early 2016, therefore, remains choppy.

“Though we see a bit of a dip nationally, we continue to see a slow and steady recovery in Alberta, where small business confidence took a big hit in the last year,” said Ted Mallett, Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) chief economist. “This is in line with our sectoral index, where we see natural resources businesses more optimistic than they have been since late 2014.”

Index declines were seen this month in six of 10 provinces, including; British Columbia (66.4), New Brunswick (63.3), Ontario (61.2), Nova Scotia (58.5), Manitoba (56.4) and Saskatchewan (51.1). Notable improvements in Prince Edward Island (68.8), Quebec (64.1), Newfoundland & Labrador (50.0), and Alberta (46.7) helped temper the drop in the national average. Results and the full report are available here.

Highlights of the Saskatchewan Business Barometer for July:

  • 43% of businesses in Saskatchewan say their overall state of business is good (39% nationally); 16% say it is bad (14% nationally).
  • 9% of Saskatchewan businesses plan to increase full-time employment in the next 3-4 months (18% nationally) and 10% plan to decrease employment (12% nationally).
  • Insufficient domestic demand remains the main operating challenge (53%), followed by the management skills/time constraints (29%).
  • Major cost pressures for small business include: tax, regulatory costs (48%); wage costs (36%); insurance costs (36%), and bank account and processing fees (36%).


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. July 2016 findings are based on 642 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through July 19. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.9 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 [email protected]. 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 [email protected]. You may also follow Ted on Twitter @cfibeconomics.

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

July 27, 2016

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