ECONfidence: Canadians are cautiously pessimistic about the economy

According to a new national survey from Ottawa-based Abacus Data, Canadians are cautiously pessimistic about the state of the Canadian economy.

While outlooks were primarily neutral for the overall health of the economy, with a majority (51%) of Canadians saying that the economy will stay about the same over the next six months and nearly half (49%) saying that the current state of the economy is “OK”, worries emerged around job security.

When asked about jobs, over half (53%) felt that there would be about the same number of jobs, while 45% of Canadians indicated that it is either somewhat or very difficult to find a job right now.

“Attitudes towards employment suggest a small crisis of confidence”, said Abacus Data’s CEO, David Coletto.  “Most Canadians are not expecting any job growth, which is seen as a major driver of the economy.”

The survey also tested how Canadians would fare if an emergency arose and they needed to come up with $1,000, comparing the results to a similar American study.  Canadians were considerably more likely than Americans (57% versus 36%) to be able to produce the money from their checking or savings account.  Of the remainder, most would borrow money from friends or take a cash advance on their credit cards.

“This sort of liquidity is encouraging”, said Coletto, “While it doesn’t give us a deep picture of Canadians’ finances, it does suggest that a majority have a reasonable buffer for emergencies – particularly when compared to our neighbours to the south”

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Between August 12 and 15, 2011 Abacus Data Inc. conducted an online survey among 1,003 randomly selected Canadian adults from an online panel of over 150,000 Canadians. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is comparable to +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

Results of the survey were statistically weighted by gender, age, region, and education using census data from Statistics Canada and by past vote using Elections Canada results from the 2011 General Election. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

For more information about the survey findings, please contact Dr. David Coletto, CEO Abacus Data Inc. at (613) 884-4730 or

Introducing the ECONfidence Index

Abacus Data is introducing this report as the first in its new ECONfidence series.  This index will be a quarterly release aimed at reporting the feelings of Canadians on a number of key economic indicators, from general outlook on the economy, through purchasing habits, market movements, jobs, interest rates, and more.

Once sufficient tracking data has been gathered, the ECONfidence Index will be published with every release.  Each individual index score is derived from the percentage value of the mean score for the associated variable and turned into a number from one to 100.  These values will aggregate to present a concise measure of Canada’s economic confidence.