RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index rises in February as
Canadians feel more positive about the national economy
Job anxiety remains steady at 25 per cent
TORONTO, March 1, 2010 — The February RBC
Canadian Consumer Outlook Index rose three points to 109
from 106 in January, as consumers were more positive about
their outlook for the Canadian economy. This is the highest
level the index has reached since it was established in November
Canadians remain divided when considering the overall state
of the economy. However, the balance has shifted into positive
territory with 53 per cent of Canadians describing the economy
as good and 47 per cent describing it as bad in February.
In January, 52 per cent described the Canadian economy as
bad, while 48 per cent described it as good.
Job anxiety remained relatively steady in February, with
one-in-four Canadians (25 per cent) saying that a member of
their household is worried about losing their job or being
laid off, compared to 26 per cent in January. Job anxiety
levels increased in Ontario (30 per cent, up five percentage
points) and Atlantic Canada (24 per cent, up six percentage
points), while they fell in all other regions of the country.
The lowest levels of job anxiety were found in Manitoba and
Saskatchewan (13 per cent) and Quebec (17 per cent).
"We know that 21 per cent of Canadians are planning
'staycations' this month, primarily for financial reasons.
The continuing high levels of concern about job loss are likely
a factor in those financial reasons," said David McKay,
group head, Canadian Banking, RBC. "The best way to deal
with uncertainty and potential challenges is to create a financial
plan. It helps gain control over day to day finances and build
a path to financial security in the long run."
Other national highlights include:
- Canadian Economy: Looking ahead, more Canadians
expect the national economy to improve over the next year
(62 per cent in February compared to 56 per cent in January),
while the percentage who expect it to get worse fell to
13 per cent in February from 17 per cent in January. This
increase in optimism was also reflected in Canadians' short
term expectations for improvement in the national economy,
which was up four percentage points from January. Four-in-ten
(41 per cent) Canadians expect the Canadian economy to improve
in the next three months.
- Personal Financial Situation (Overall): The percentage
of Canadians who think that their personal financial situation
will improve in the next three months has fallen slightly
to 30 per cent in February compared to 32 per cent in January.
Canadians remain more optimistic in the longer term, with
more than four-in-ten Canadians (45 per cent) expecting
their personal economic situation to improve over the next
year (unchanged from January).
- Interest Rates: Canadians expect interest rates
to go up in the next six months (65 per cent in February
compared to 68 per cent in January). One-in-three Canadians
(33 per cent) expects that interest rates will remain unchanged
over the same period.
"Canadians may be feeling more positive about the economy
because job growth numbers were released in early February.
We expect to see a sustained improvement in the labour market
over the course of the year," said Robert Hogue, senior
economist, RBC. "According to Statistics Canada, employment
increased by 43,000 in January, which pushed the unemployment
rate down to 8.3 per cent. While this figure has been steadily
improving, there are still 280,000 fewer Canadians employed
than there were in October 2008. This could be responsible
for Canadians' relatively high level of job anxiety."
About The RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook
The RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index, benchmarked
as of November 2009, is based on the results of an online
survey of 1,064 Canadians, ages 18 and over, conducted by
Ipsos Reid between February 9 and 12, 2010. This data represents
the most timely and comprehensive snapshot of consumer attitudes
regarding their finances and the economy in Canada. Weighting
was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that
the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population
according to Census data and to provide results intended to
approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted
probability sample of this size and a 100 per cent response
rate would have an estimated margin of error of ±3.1
percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results
would have been had the entire population of adults in Canada
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For more information, please contact:
RBC Corporate Communications, (416) 974-6970
RBC Media Relations, (416) 974-5506