Sask. small business optimism continues to lead the nation

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The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest monthly Business Barometer earlier today, revealing optimism among small business owners in Saskatchewan remains strong with an index of 70.7 in August from 71.2 in July, the highest in Canada and well above the national index of 65.9. Sixty-three per cent of Saskatchewan small business owners rate their overall state of business as good – tied for the highest in Canada and well ahead of the national average of 42 per cent.

“Small business optimism in Saskatchewan remains the strongest in Canada, which is a dose of good news this month,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Vice-President, Prairie and Agri-business. “Hiring plans have settled somewhat with 22 per cent planning to increase full time employment in the next 3-4 months, which is the third highest in Canada. By a large margin, the main growth limitation on business continues to be labour shortages.”

Nationally, small business confidence made another upward surge in August – following on the heels of a healthy jump in July. The Business Barometer® index this month puts it at 65.9.

“Once again increased confidence among Ontario entrepreneurs has powered the national average, although the Index numbers are up in seven of the 10 provinces,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s chief economist and vice-president. “So far, the summer has shaped up to be considerably better than the spring for small business owners.”

Entrepreneurs in Saskatchewan (70.7) are the most optimistic in Canada, with Newfoundland and Labrador (70.4) a close second, followed by Alberta (69.5), Ontario (67.8) and British Columbia (66.3). Quebec (59.0), New Brunswick (58.5), Nova Scotia (58.0), and Manitoba (57.6) are below the national average, while Prince Edward Island (50.0) is at the back of the pack. Results and the full report are available at: www.cfib-fcei.ca/english/barometer.

Saskatchewan highlights include:

- 63 per cent of businesses in Saskatchewan say the overall state of business is good (42 per cent nationally); only three per cent say performance is poor (12 per cent nationally).

- 22 per cent of Saskatchewan businesses plan to increase full-time employment in the next three to four months (17 per cent nationally) and just seven per cent plan to decrease full-time employment (11 per cent nationally).

- The shortage of skilled labour (43 per cent) remains the main operating challenge -  highest in Canada.

- Major cost pressures for small business include: wages (46 per cent); fuel/energy (42 per cent); and taxes/regulations (38 per cent).

Organizations: Canadian Federation of Independent Business

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Canada

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