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Winnipeg Business Outlook for Q3 2023: A Balanced and Cautiously Optimistic Landscape

October 10, 2023

Canadian Survey on Business Conditions Q3 2023 Findings

Findings from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce recent survey, The Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC) for Q3 2023 reveals despite the looming challenges of inflation, costs and a scarcity of skilled labour, businesses in the Winnipeg remain optimistic.

Some noteworthy Winnipeg-based results from the latest quarterly CSBC survey include:

Business Outlook

Winnipeg businesses maintain a predominantly optimistic outlook for the upcoming quarter, highlighting the importance of adapting strategically to potential risks. Industries with the highest optimism include the agriculture sector (94%), finance (87.1%), and real estate (85.4%).

Business Expectations

Businesses in Winnipeg anticipate a steady growth in sales, projecting a growth rate of 14.30%, albeit slightly slower than previous quarters. Selling prices are expected to increase by 23.60%, also indicating slightly slower rate than the previous quarters. Capital expenditure is anticipated to remain consistent at 16.40%, reflecting a stable approach to investments. The workforce is expected to grow by 10.80%, signalling a slower but steady expansion.

Inflation-Price Dynamics

The expected selling price changes align closely with Consumer Price Index (CPI) fluctuations, indicating a responsive approach to market dynamics. In Q3 2023, there is a deviation from the usual pattern, where selling prices are rising despite a large decrease in July 2023 CPI change. This suggests potential shifts in pricing strategies or cost management as businesses navigate the evolving inflation scenario.

Key Business Obstacles

In Q3 2023, Winnipeg businesses face significant challenges including soaring inflation (54.60%) and the impact of rising interest rates (33.30%), which affect costs and financial planning. The impact of inflation is expected to be felt most severely among the finance and insurance (64.9%), retail trade (63.1%), construction (61.2%) and transportation (61.2%) sectors.

Labour challenges are on the rise again, with around 36% of businesses citing difficulty in recruiting skilled employees and almost 28% recognizing talent retention as a significant hurdle. The accommodation and food services, construction, and health care sectors all face severe labor challenges in Winnipeg. High labour shortages make the recruitment and retention of skilled employees exceptionally challenging.

Addressing these issues is critical to ensure sustained growth and effective service delivery in these vital industries. Targeted strategies and collaborations are needed to bridge the labor gap and facilitate a favourable work environment.

Access to Capital

Surprisingly, despite the high interest rates, the trend in Q3 2023 reveals a notable increase of 13.4% in businesses’ capacity to assume additional debt in Winnipeg from the last quarter. In addition, 13.30% of businesses feel they cannot take on more debt, down by 7.90% from last quarter. Overall, the businesses show a positive propensity towards taking on more debt, perhaps showcasing an atypical approach amidst the interest rate volatility.

Interprovincial Trade and Economic Expansion

Interprovincial trade plays a vital role in economic growth, and Q3 2023 data for Winnipeg demonstrates a significant level of market engagement beyond provincial boundaries.

More than two-fifths of businesses (42.80%) are actively engaged in interprovincial market trade, indicating economic vitality and potential market expansion. As firm size grows, engagement in trade with other provinces/territories tends to increase, showcasing the interconnectedness of the economy.

To boost economic growth and accessibility, efforts to lower transport costs, reduce paperwork, improve market understanding, streamline tax laws, and foster collaboration are highlighted as essential for easier interprovincial trade.

Commitment to Environmental Practices

In Q3 2023, businesses across all industries in Winnipeg are actively engaging in environmentally responsible practices, demonstrating a strong commitment to sustainability. Key initiatives include reducing waste (52.3%) and conserving energy or water (35%).

However, businesses encounter challenges in adopting green practices, including financial constraints, client reluctance to pay more, time and labor limitations, industry-specific barriers, and a lack of knowledge or expertise. Overcoming these challenges requires targeted strategies and education to promote a sustainable business environment.

Payment Methods and Financial Transactions

The payment landscape for Winnipeg businesses is diverse, utilizing a blend of traditional and digital methods. Traditional methods like cheques (73.2%), credit cards (60.5%), cash (56%), and electronic funds transfers (EFT) (55%) remain prevalent.

Businesses in Winnipeg prioritize payment methods that align with their operational needs, cost structures, security requirements, technological compatibility, and awareness of available options, showcasing a strategic approach to financial transactions.

View full report here.


About the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions Report

The Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC) was created in spring 2020 by Statistics Canada in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to monitor evolving Canadian business conditions and trends. The Q3 2023 CSBC was collected from July 4 to August 8, 2023. The survey was conducted by Statistics Canada via electronic questionnaire, using a stratified random sample of establishments with employees. The Q3 2023 CSBC survey is based on responses from 15,224 Canadian employers.

The Canadian Survey on Business Conditions Report presents an in-depth quarterly analysis of the CSBC conducted by the Canadian Chamber’s Business Data Lab. The Business Data Lab collaborates with the Canadian Chamber Network to distribute and amplify CSBC insights at the local level.

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