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Sask small biz optimism sees modest rebound in May

Regina, May 26, 2016 - Today, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest monthly Business Barometer®, which reveals optimism among small business owners in Saskatchewan saw a modest rebound in May to an index of 51.5, up 2.7 points from 48.8 in April, but remains below the national average index of 58.2.

“It’s encouraging to see Saskatchewan's small business optimism improve for the second month in a row, with its index reaching 51.5. However, hiring plans held steady with only 18 per cent of business owners looking to hire over the next three months and 13 per cent looking to cut back staff,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Vice-President, Prairie & Agri-business. “With only one third of small business owners saying their business is in good shape, entrepreneurs will be looking to next week’s budget to outline a plan to improve Saskatchewan’s economy. In particular, entrepreneurs will expect the government to hold the line on taxes, spend sustainably and at the same time introduce a plan to restore us back to balance.”

Nationally, Canadian small business confidence eased downward in May. CFIB’s Business Barometer® Index dropped by one point to 58.2 in May from April’s 59.2.

“We saw a small claw-back of the gains made last month, but we’re still much-improved from the first three months of the year,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB chief economist. “Hiring plans are looking good for the time of year; however, the number of businesses planning to cut full-time staffing remains elevated, and there are still concerns about the state of order books and accounts receivables.”

British Columbia gained two points in May, hitting 67.1. Alberta registered its second consecutive increase, climbing six points to 34.6, showing improvement, but still having the lowest score in the country. Saskatchewan rose to 51.5. Manitoba jumped to 57.7. Ontario continued its upward trend, gaining three points to reach 65.8, its best score in more than a year, while Quebec saw its third month of decline in a row, falling two points to 60.4. Newfoundland and Labrador fell to 44.6. Nova Scotia slipped to 63.9. New Brunswick’s confidence levels held steady at 57.0. Prince Edward Island leads the country for the second month in a row, jumping five points to 75.0. Results and the full report are available here.

Highlights of the Saskatchewan Business Barometer for May:

  • 30% of businesses in Saskatchewan say their overall state of business is good (39% nationally), 18% say it is bad (14% nationally).
  • 18% of Saskatchewan businesses plan to increase full-time employment in the next 3-4 months (21% nationally) and 13% plan to decrease employment (12% nationally).
  • Insufficient domestic demand remains the main operating challenge (53%); followed by the shortage of skilled labour (26%).
  • Major cost pressures for small business include: tax, regulatory costs (50%), wage costs (49%) 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. May 2016 findings are based on 684 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through May 16. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.7 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.

May 26, 2016

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