Poll suggests some Canadians feel better about the economy and their own finances

OTTAWA — A new poll suggests some Canadians are feeling more optimistic about the state of the national economy and their own wallets, but not as positive as they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.

OTTAWA — A new poll suggests some Canadians are feeling more optimistic about the state of the national economy and their own wallets, but not as positive as they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual Leger survey of economic confidence found nearly two in five respondents rated the economy as good or very good, up from the same survey last February.

Yet just over half of respondents were not so knowledgeable about the state of the economy, with 54% rating it as poor or very poor.

This figure was down from 61% of respondents in last year’s survey, but still higher than the 36% recorded in February 2020 just before the first wave of the pandemic.

About two-thirds of respondents also expressed confidence in their personal finances, a figure that has remained stable across surveys in each of the previous two years.

The poll of 2,399 Canadians who participated in an online panel between Jan. 7 and 12 cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet panels are not considered truly random samples.

Christian Bourque, executive vice president of Leger, said the results suggest respondents are more optimistic about the economy than markets and economists who have lowered their expectations for the year. The poll indicates that optimism also extends to their personal finances despite high inflation rates.

“People are feeling a bit more optimistic than we would have thought and that’s definitely an increase from what we’ve seen over the last year in terms of overall optimism,” Bourque said.

The downgrade forecast follows signals from central banks on both sides of the border that their lowest interest rates will rise this year to combat high inflation. There are also supply chain issues and the spread of the Omicron variant that have created economic headwinds to kick off 2022.

On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund revised its projection for Canada’s economic growth, lowering its projection for real gross domestic product growth this year by 0.8 percentage points to 4.1%.

Canadians are generally quite optimistic about the national economy, mixed with a certain level of caution for what might come, which Bourque said was reflected in the regional results.

The biggest uptick in optimism for the economy between last year and today came from respondents in Alberta. But the oil-producing province also had the highest percentage of respondents, at 61%, who had the least confidence in the economy.

“For Prime Minister Kenney, it’s another ‘what do I do about it now? ‘” Bourque said. “Leaving aside the handling of the pandemic, he now has to deal with a population that feels things are not going Alberta’s way.

Among the top financial concerns cited by respondents were the value of their investments, the security of their savings, and the ability to pay their bills.

These were the same top issues in the poll conducted last February, although the results suggest that fewer respondents were worried about these issues overall.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on January 26, 2022.

Jordan Press, The Canadian Press

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