Manitoba Small Business Optimism Behind National Average


WINNIPEG, MB. – Small business owners in Manitoba are not as optimistic as their counterpart in the rest of Canada.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest Business Barometer, which reveals optimism in Manitoba remained unchanged in November with an index of 55.3, compared to 55.5 in October, but is four points below the national average of 59.3.

“For the fourth consecutive month, Manitoba small business optimism has fallen and now sits at its lowest level in 2017,” said Jonathan Alward, CFIB’s Director of Provincial Affairs for Manitoba. “On top of much uncertainty regarding the proposed federal tax changes, entrepreneurs are facing increasing CPP, EI premiums and a new carbon tax. If we look at the whole picture it’s no wonder small business owners are feeling much less confident than last year at this time (an index of 63.2 in November 2016).”
Things are looking up though, following a small gain in October, the monthly index measuring small business optimism edged up another 2.0 points this month to 59.3 (out of 100).
“After a summer of discontent, it looks like we’re seeing a turnaround in confidence,” said Ted Mallett, Chief Economist at CFIB. “And, while we’re still very far off from the confidence levels we saw earlier in the year, there are some positive signs heading into the final month of the calendar year. In particular, there are improvements in both wage and capital spending plans.”
Provincial results were mixed: increasing confidence in Ontario (58.3), Alberta (56.2), Prince Edward Island (55.8) and Newfoundland and Labrador (49.0) were enough to offset lower optimism in the other provinces. Quebec (65.4) businesses remain the most optimistic in the country, despite its index losing points for the third month in a row. British Columbia (60.8) and Nova Scotia (59.9) lost ground as well, but indexes there remain just above the national average. Sentiment in Manitoba (55.3) and Saskatchewan (52.3) shows only a minor downgrade from October results, while New Brunswick (51.4) experienced a more dramatic drop.
Results and the full report are available at:
Here are the highlights of the Manitoba Business Barometer for November:
· 38% of small businesses in Manitoba say their overall state of business is good (42% nationally); 11% say it is bad (11% nationally).
· 14% of Manitoba small businesses plan to increase full-time employment in the next 3-4 months (14% nationally), and 15% plan to decrease employment (15% nationally).
· Insufficient domestic demand remains the main operating challenge (35%), followed by management skills/time constraints (28%), and shortage of skilled labour (28%).
· Major cost pressures for small business include: tax/regulatory costs (66%), wage costs (54%), and fuel, energy costs (38%).

Canadian Federation of Independent Business for The Manitoba Post

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