Manitoba Small Businesses are More Positive to Start 2018

Manitoba PostNews

WINNIPEG, MB – According to small businesses in Manitoba, things are looking up as we start 2018.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest Business Barometer, which revealed small business optimism in Manitoba increased in January to an index of 61.6, compared to 57.4 in December, and now sits just 1.1 points below the national average.

“We’re pleased to see Manitoba’s small business owners start 2018 on an upbeat note, however the index still sits almost six points below where it was at this time last year,” said Jonathan Alward, CFIB’s Director of Provincial Affairs for Manitoba. “With many costs rising in 2018 and 2019, we’ve asked for small business tax relief to be a priority in the upcoming Manitoba Budget.”

Nationally, small business owners are beginning the New Year on a more confident note, as the CFIB’s monthly index jumped three points in January to 62.7 (out of 100), its best reading since hitting a cyclical high of 66.0 last May.

“Despite a positive reading to begin the year, the index remains below the levels where the small business community is growing at its potential,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB vice-president and chief economist. “While we’re seeing a lot of forward momentum, minimum wage plans across the country have a higher than normal number of businesses expecting to cut back on staffing levels, and plans to increase both wages and prices remain high.”

Sentiment improved in 8 of 10 provinces, but there appeared to be some growing divergence between the most and least optimistic regions. Once again, business owners in Quebec (71.3), British Columbia (66.7) and Nova Scotia (63.9) led the country and all three areas showed healthy gains over December results. Month-over-month improvements were also significant in Manitoba (61.6), New Brunswick (56.9) and Saskatchewan (53.6), though they still lag the national average. There was only a small improvement in Ontario (58.7), while sentiment in Alberta (59.4) dropped half a step back. Optimism is lowest in Newfoundland & Labrador (51.8) and now Prince Edward Island (52.4).Results and the full report are available at:

Highlights of the Manitoba Business Barometer for January:

  • 53% of small businesses in Manitoba say their overall state of business is good (44% nationally); 11% say it is bad (10% nationally).
  • 17% of Manitoba small businesses plan to increase full-time employment in the next 3-4 months (19% nationally), and 13% plan to decrease employment (16% nationally).
  • Insufficient domestic demand remains the main operating challenge (32%), followed by shortage of skilled labour (30%), and management skills/time constraints (28%).
  • Major cost pressures for small business include: tax/regulatory costs (68%), wage costs (57%), and insurance costs (39%).

Canadian Federation of Independent Business

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