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Small-business optimism lowest in Manitoba: survey

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Manitoba small business owners are among the most pessimistic in the country, according to the results of the latest monthly membership survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

The federation said Manitoba’s Business Barometer Index, which shows the level of optimism among small business owners, dropped another 3.9 points this month to 58.7.

It said the index has now fallen just under nine points in the past three months, making Manitoba entrepreneurs the third most pessimistic in the country.

"Manitoba small business owners optimism fell again in February, showing their serious concerns about the competitiveness of our province’s business climate," said Elliot Sims, the CFIB’s director of provincial affairs for Manitoba.

"Entrepreneurs are gun shy when it comes to Manitoba’s provincial budget and for good reason," Sims added. "Over the last few years, the budget has increased taxes, made the red tape headache worse, and continued creating large deficits. This is not a path that makes entrepreneurs confident. We believe Finance Minister (Jennifer) Howard has a chance to change that next week and I hope she uses the opportunity."

Nationally, the CFIB said small business confidence in Canada rose by 0.4 points to 64.4 in February. British Columbia had the highest confidence reading at 71.4, while New Brunswick had the lowest at 56.6.

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