Saskatchewan regains top spot on CFIB small business optimism rankings

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Entrepreneurs in Saskatchewan are again the most optimistic in Canada according to the July Business Barometer released by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

The survey notes optimism among Saskatchewan small business owners gained four points to reach an index of 71.2 in July, up from 67.3 in June, and well above the July national index of 64.2.

“Small business optimism in Saskatchewan saw a major increase in July – regaining the leader spot in Canada, which is terrific to see,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Vice-President, Prairie & Agri-business. “The good news is that Saskatchewan continues to lead on key indicators. As in the previous month, 63 per cent of owners report the health of their business as 'good' – the highest in the country. However, the main growth limitation on business continues to be labour shortages and consequently, wage pressures are the top cost.”

Small businesses recorded a big turnaround in optimism following a downbeat June, with CFIB's Business Barometer Index currently at 64.2, a rise of almost five points this month to nearly make up all the ground lost in the previous four months.

“Canada’s small and mid-size business owners are considerably more optimistic than they were just a month ago, and the current index reading is the best since February,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s vice-president and chief economist.

Entrepreneurs in Saskatchewan (71.2) are the most optimistic in Canada, although post-flood Alberta (66.8), Newfoundland and Labrador (66.7) and now Ontario (66.5) are close behind. British Columbia (64.9) is above the national average, while New Brunswick (58.9), Manitoba (58.0), Nova Scotia (57.0) and Quebec (56.4) are all below. Prince Edward Island (49.2) remains at the bottom end of the scale. Read the July 2013 Business Barometer® at www.cfib.ca/barometer.

Provincial highlights include:

· 63 per cent of businesses in Saskatchewan say the overall state of business is good (38 per cent nationally); 32 per cent say it is satisfactory (48 per cent nationally).

· 24 per cent of Saskatchewan businesses plan to increase full-time employment in the next three to four months (21 per cent nationally) and just eight per cent plan to decrease full-time employment (10 per cent nationally).

· The shortage of skilled labour (44 per cent) remains the main operating challenge: highest in Canada.

· Major cost pressures for small business include: wages (47 per cent); fuel/energy (43 per cent); and taxes/regulations (39 per cent).

Organizations: Canadian Federation of Independent Business

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Canada, Alberta Newfoundland and Labrador Ontario British Columbia New Brunswick Manitoba Nova Scotia Quebec Prince Edward Island

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