Sask small business optimism remains steady in September

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Hiring plans strongest in Canada

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The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest monthly Business Barometer today, which reveals optimism among small business owners in Saskatchewan remains steady with an index of 70.7 in September, unchanged from August – the third best in Canada and well above the national index of 64.5.

Sixty-two per cent of Saskatchewan small business owners rate their overall state of business as good –the highest in Canada and well ahead of the national average of 40 per cent.

“It is encouraging to see small business optimism in Saskatchewan remains steady in September, which is about its historical average during the past five years or so,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Vice-President, Prairie and Agri-business. “Hiring plans are the strongest in Canada with 27 per cent planning to increase full time employment in the next 3-4 months, compared to 19 per cent nationally. Now we need Mother Nature to continue to cooperate over the coming weeks to get the rest of these great crops off the field.”

Nationally, small business confidence in September gave back most of the gains it had made in August, but it still counts as one of the better results so far in 2013. The Business Barometer Index dropped 1.4 points to 64.5 this month, however, only January, February and August saw higher index values. “Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta and Saskatchewan continue to lead the way in terms of small business confidence,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s chief economist and vice-president. “This seems to be one pattern we can depend on month after month.”

The long standing pattern shows highest optimism in Newfoundland and Labrador (72.2), Alberta (71.6) and Saskatchewan (70.7) has been maintained. Modest improvements in business sentiment are seen in British Columbia (67.9), Nova Scotia (61.6), and Manitoba (60.7). While the opposite holds true in Ontario (63.6), New Brunswick (55.5) and Prince Edward Island (47.6). Quebec’s index of 59.2 shows stability, but at levels still more than six points below the Canadian average. Results and the full report are available at: www.cfib-fcei.ca/english/barometer.

Saskatchewan highlights include:

- Sixty two per cent of businesses in Saskatchewan say the overall state of business is good (40 per cent nationally); only three per cent say performance is poor (12 per cent nationally).

- Twenty seven per cent of Saskatchewan businesses plan to increase full-time employment in the next three to four months (19 per cent nationally) and just eight per cent plan to decrease full-time employment (11 per cent nationally).

·- The shortage of skilled labour (40 per cent) remains the main operating challenge -  highest in Canada.

- Major cost pressures for small business include: wages (48 per cent); fuel/energy (40 per cent); and taxes/regulations (37 per cent).

Organizations: Canadian Federation of Independent Business

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

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