Saskatchewan small business optimism took another step backward in November; 1 in 5 businesses planning layoffs

Regina, November 29, 2018 - Today, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest monthly Business Barometer®, which reveals optimism among small business owners in Saskatchewan declined again in November to an index of 49.4, down from 53.2 in October. The index also remains well below the national average index of 61.2.

Saskatchewan's small business optimism took another step backward in November, with the index losing almost four points and settling just below the 50 mark at 49.4. In fact, Saskatchewan’s index is almost 16 points below the range of index levels (65-70) normally associated when the economy is growing at its potential,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Vice-President, Prairie & Agri-business. “Employment plans weakened again and now about 20 per cent of entrepreneurs foresee full-time cutbacks compared to 11 per cent who are planning to hire in the coming months.”

“With serious concerns about the federal government’s tax changes, CPP increases, a federally-imposed carbon tax, and decreased commodity prices, small businesses are feeling the pressure,” added Braun-Pollon. “We commend the provincial government for standing up for Saskatchewan by aggressively opposing the federally-imposed carbon tax. That’s why in order to help protect businesses’ hard-earned investments, CFIB urges the Saskatchewan government to stand up again for small businesses and NOT follow the federal government in limiting businesses’ access to the small business deduction based on passive investment revenue.”

Nationally, small business confidence continued its path of flat and unspectacular performance in November. At 61.2, CFIB’s index was 0.7 points higher than in October, but only really back in line with readings from August and September. The mood should be better. Relative to GDP growth, the Index has, since 2015, been underperforming by about 5 points.

Provincial results: Quebec confidence plummets

Quebec experienced another major drop in confidence this month, falling to 60.9 index points. Prince Edward Island lost some of its confidence, but remained the most optimistic province at 69.2, followed by New Brunswick at 67.2, which experienced the greatest confidence gain. British Columbia experienced a modest gain to 63.1 index points. Ontario (62.1) and Manitoba (61.3) lost confidence, but remained near the national average. Nova Scotia (55.1), Alberta (53.8), Newfoundland and Labrador (51.8) and Saskatchewan (49.4) all remained below the national average.

Highlights of the Saskatchewan Business Barometer for November:

  • 37% of businesses in Saskatchewan say their overall state of business is good (42% nationally); 17% say it is bad (11% nationally);
  • 11% plan to increase employment in the next 3-4 months (18% nationally) and 20% of Saskatchewan businesses plan to decrease full-time employment (14% nationally);
  • Insufficient domestic demand is the main operating challenge (51%), followed by shortage of skilled labour (24%) and management skills, time constraints (21%);
  • Major cost pressures for small business include: tax, regulatory costs (66%), fuel, energy costs (53%) and insurance costs (50%).

Read the November Business Barometer®

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. One normally sees an index level of between 65 and 70 when the economy is growing at its potential. November 2018 findings are based on 707 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received through November 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 You may follow CFIB Saskatchewan on Twitter @cfibsk.

To arrange an interview with Ted Mallett, Vice-President & Chief Economist on the national results please contact Milena Stanoeva at 647-464-2814 or You may also follow Ted on Twitter @cfibeconomics.

About CFIB
CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members (5,250 in Saskatchewan) across every sector and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at