Regina, October 26, 2017 - Today, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest monthly Business Barometer®, which reveals optimism among small business owners in Saskatchewan increased slightly to an index of 52.7 in October from 50.9 in September, which is 4.5 points below the national average index of 57.2.
“While Saskatchewan's small businesses gained some confidence in October, its index is still the second lowest in Canada, after only Newfoundland,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Vice-President, Prairie & Agri-business. “Short-term hiring plans are worsening, with only 11 per cent of owners looking to hire and 19 per cent planning to layoff in the next three months. Only about one-third of entrepreneurs are saying that their businesses are in good shape (2nd lowest in Canada).”
“Saskatchewan entrepreneurs’ concerns about taxes and regulatory costs are now at an all-time high of 63 per cent, compared to 49 per cent in October 2016,” added Braun-Pollon. “However, we are pleased yesterday’s Throne Speech announced plans to increase the small business income threshold from $500,000 to $600,000, effective January 1, 2018. Saskatchewan will have the highest threshold in Canada. We are also pleased the provincial government will continue to oppose a federal carbon tax and federal small business tax changes.”
Nationally, after four months of sharp decline, small business confidence in Canada steadied in October. The index registered a weak 57.2 this month, but it is 0.3 points higher than September’s dismal showing. As recently as last May, by comparison, the index had been at a cyclical high of 66.0.
“Concerns about wage costs, taxes and regulations continue to be top of mind when business owners are asked about their costs and constraints of doing business,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB Chief Economist. “The end result remains a pretty sour picture across the country, with most provincial indexes clustered around the 55 mark.”
Results are mixed across the regions. Despite losing ground, Quebec remains the most optimistic place for business owners, with an index of 67.6. Nova Scotia businesses are a step back in second spot at 62.5, while improving sentiment in British Columbia brought its index up to 61.9. Lowest levels of optimism are seen in Newfoundland & Labrador (48.3) and Saskatchewan (52.7) —results typical of the past 18 months in both provinces. For the rest of the country, a generally sour mood has kept index values clustered around the 55 mark. Results and the full report are available at: www.cfib-fcei.ca/english/barometer
Highlights of the Saskatchewan Business Barometer for October:
- 32% of businesses in Saskatchewan say their overall state of business is good (41% nationally); 18% say it is bad (11% nationally).
- 19% plan to decrease employment in the next 3-4 months (17% nationally) and only 11% of Saskatchewan businesses plan to increase full-time employment (16% nationally).
- Insufficient domestic demand remains the main operating challenge (48%), followed by shortage of skilled labour (28%), and management skills, time constraints (23%).
- Major cost pressures for small business include: tax, regulatory costs (63%), insurance costs (48%) and wage costs (46%).
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. October 2017 findings are based on 727 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through October 16. 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 [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.
CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members (5,250 in Saskatchewan) across every sector and region.