“Healthy gain” in Saskatchewan business optimisim in September: CFIB
27 Sep 2014
‘Healthy gain’ in optimism in September: CFIB
Optimism among small business owners in Saskatchewan increased 3.2 points to an index of 68.2 in September from 65.0 in August, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) said in its latest monthly ‘business barometer’ survey released Thursday.
“While small business optimism in Saskatchewan has been unsteady through 2014, it is encouraging to see a healthy gain in September,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s vice-president for Prairie and agri-business.
“Saskatchewan is once again near the top of the pack on indicators, like hiring plans and the general state of business health. However, we know entrepreneurs continue to feel the pressure from labour shortages, increasing wage costs and high fuel and energy costs.”
Just over half (52 per cent) of businesses in Saskatchewan say their overall state of business is good (versus 42 per cent nationally), while 10 per cent say it is bad (versus 11 per cent nationally). One in five (21 per cent) of Saskatchewan businesses plan to increase full-time employment in the next three to four months (versus 19 per cent nationally) and 7.0 per cent plan to decrease employment (versus 8.0 per cent nationally).
The shortage of skilled labour remains the main operating challenge for Saskatchewan small businesses, with 50 per cent reporting difficulty hiring qualified staff, second-highest in Canada after Alberta at 53 per cent.
Nationally, small and midsized business optimism remained steady in September, with CFIB’s business barometer index holding at 65.6, just a fraction of a point from August’s 65.5. “These fairly consistent readings over the last two months suggest the Canadian economy is growing at a moderate pace,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s chief economist and vice-president.
Business owners in Newfoundland and Labrador remain the country’s most optimistic, maintaining an index level above 74. Alberta small business owners are right behind at a robust 73.8. Optimism in British Columbia (70.9) and Saskatchewan bumped upward as well this month.
In the Maritimes, we have seen a strong rebound in Nova Scotia business sentiment (to 63.5) at the same time as sharp downdrafts in New Brunswick (59.8) and P.E.I. (53.8). Results for Ontario and Quebec are largely unchanged, with index levels at 65.2 and 60.5, respectively.
An index level above 50 means owners expecting their business’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. September’s findings are based on 1,022 responses from a random sample of CFIB members. Findings are considered accurate plus or minus 3.1 per cent, 19 times in 20.