For the third consecutive month, business optimism in Saskatchewan fell. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says Saskatchewan’s monthly Business Barometer Index reading has dropped to 44.8 from 49 in May. That is a new record low. The national average is 62.2. An index needs to be above 50 to show that owners expecting their business performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. Only 28 per cent of business in this province say their overall state of business is good; compare that to 47 per cent nationally. 22 per cent here say it’s bad. Only 10 per cent nationally are in that camp. 14 per cent of businesses here plan to decrease employment in the next 3 to 4 months. 12 per cent plan to increase full-time employment. 49 per cent of businesses in the province say insufficient domestic demand remains the main operating challenge. 26 per cent say it’s a shortage of skilled labour. 23 per cent blame management skills, and time constraints.