The FINANCIAL — Canadian economic confidence has rebounded from historic lows measured in Q1 of 2016, but is still well off of pre great-recession norms, according to new Ipsos poll conducted for Global News.
Opinion about the economic situation in Canada this year was highly volatile. At the end of 2015, one year ago, 44% of Canadians said the economy was good. By February, 2016, it had dropped to just 34%, the lowest point measured in two decades. Currently, as of December, 2016, six in ten (61%) Canadians rate the national economy as being good (13% very/49% somewhat), while four in ten (39%) think it’s bad (8% very/31% somewhat). Still, these figures are well off the mid-eighties routinely measured prior to the great recession of 2008/2009.
Putting these national figures into context, economic sentiment in Canada is on par with Australia (62%), and slightly ahead of the United States (55%). And while sentiment in Canada is significantly stronger than in France (21%), Japan (38%) or the UK (38%), it’s well off the positive feelings felt in China (79%) or Germany (76%).
A closer look at the Canadian data reveals two realities: one within Alberta, and one outside of Alberta. Within Alberta, just 36% would describe the national economy as being good, significantly lower than anywhere else in Canada. In fact, a majority of residents of British Columbia (59%), Atlantic Canada (62%), Ontario (65%), Quebec (66%), and Saskatchewan/Manitoba (66%) describe the national economy as being in good shape.
Thinking about their local economy specifically, just 26% of Albertans say it’s in good shape, although this is a 12-point improvement from the 14% who said the same at the end of 2015. So while sentiment in Alberta is improving, the figures are still very low and different from those measured in other parts of the country. Assessing their own local economies, those in the Prairies (34%), Atlantic (36%), BC (42%), Ontario (45%) and Quebec (48%) are more positive – although everybody seems to think that the national economy is doing better than their own local economy.
Looking ahead to the next six months, 27% of Canadians expect the local economy to be stronger than it is now, while 14% are more pessimistic and think the local economy will be weaker. Six in ten (59%) think things will be about the same six months from now.
Once again, optimism is not uniform across the country, but in this regard Albertans lead with 34% believing things will improve for them, followed by those living in Quebec (30%), Ontario (27%), British Columbia (25%), Atlantic Canada (18%) and Manitoba/Saskatchewan (17%).