The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has released its Business Barometer for May which shows small business optimism.

Kathleen Cook, Director for the Prairies & Northern Canada for CFIB, says across Canada, the overall small business short-term confidence dropped slightly to 58.8 and the long-term optimism index fell three points to 61.6. Provincially, we saw the opposite.

"Manitoba saw slight improvements in business confidence in May," says Cook. "Our short-term confidence index is up 1.6 points to 61.9 and the long-term index (the 12-month index) is up 2.6 points to 64.1."

She says, overall, it's good news. For example, the hospitality sector saw strong improvements. Cook notes that part of the reason for that is that, during the pandemic, optimism in hospitality hit historic lows. In that specific case, there was nowhere for the optimism to go, but up.

"Other sectors, however, are seeing a slight decline. Retail is seeing a decline and the agriculture sector is down, too. No surprise there -- they're dealing with sharp increases in fuel costs, a wet spring, flooding in some areas," says Cook. "The carbon tax is going up and it's impacting their operations and and they're also impacted by labour shortages."

Among the other business indicators, almost all have seen some improvements. Full-time hiring plans are positive and the state of business is also positive. This is better than in previous months. Price plans are still extremely high but have softened somewhat in May. The major limitation on business growth this month is labour shortages, while the major cost constraint is still fuel and energy prices.

You can read more about the barometer here.