Saskatoon Mortgage Broker shares article – Small business optimism up in April

Regina Leader – Post – April 29, 2016


Optimism among small business owners in Saskatchewan improved slightly in April, but still remains below the national average, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) ‘business barometer’ survey released Thursday.

“After the significant dive in optimism levels at the beginning of the year, Saskatchewan saw a small improvement in its (business barometer) index in April, reaching 48.8,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s vice-president for Prairie and agri-business.

“However, hiring plans are still muted with 19 per cent of business owners looking to hire full-time staff over the next three months and 17 per cent looking to cut back on staff,” she said.

Other findings of the Saskatchewan survey include:

• 28 per cent of businesses say their overall state of business is good (versus 38 per cent nationally), while 21 per cent say it is bad (17 per cent nationally).

• 19 per cent plan to increase full-time employment in the next three to four months (versus 22 per cent nationally), while 17 per cent plan to decrease employment (12 per cent nationally).

• Insufficient domestic demand remains the main operating challenge (55 per cent), followed by the shortage of skilled labour (26 per cent).

• Major cost pressures for small business include: taxes and regulatory costs (50 per cent), wage costs (48 per cent) and insurance costs (38 per cent).

Canada’s small business confidence rebounded nearly seven points in April to 59.2, its highest mark since last June.

“While we often see spikes in a single month of data, the size of this increase suggests the long-awaited confidence normalization has begun,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s chief economist.

Optimism rose in six of the 10 provinces. British Columbia climbed three points in April, reaching 65.4, good for second-highest in the country. Alberta stopped its four-month slide, increasing two points to 28.6, though still has the lowest confidence in the country.

Manitoba held steady at 54, Ontario jumped five points to 62.6, while Quebec slipped three to 62.2, still above the national average.

Newfoundland and Labrador fell to a new provincial low at 46.4 and Nova Scotia fell a point to 64.6. New Brunswick’s confidence increased four points to 57.5 while P.E.I. rose to 70.8, best in the country.

An index level above 50 means owners expecting their business’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. Index levels normally range between 65 and 70 when the economy is growing at its potential.

April survey results are based on 672 responses collected from a random sample of CFIB members. Findings are statistically accurate, plus or minus 3.8 per cent 19 times in 20.


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