TORONTO, February 1, 2010 — The January RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index dipped two points to 106, as consumers delayed major purchases, were less positive about their outlook for the Canadian economy and showed increased job anxiety. According to the survey, almost six in ten Canadians (58 per cent) are concerned about their current level of debt. However, fewer Canadians in the over 55 age group expressed concern (45 per cent), likely because fewer of them are still carrying debt.
When asked at what age they expect to be or became debt free, the average Canadian said 57, with interesting differences between age groups:
"Canadians are clearly worried about their current level of debt," said David McKay, group head, Canadian Banking, RBC. "We are proactively contacting our clients to provide customized advice to help them reach their goals, including helping them become debt-free sooner."
Slightly more than one-in-four Canadians (26 per cent) say that a member of their household is worried about losing their job or being laid off, up significantly from one-in-five (21 per cent) in December. Job anxiety is up in every province, with the highest levels in British Columbia (32 per cent) and Alberta (31 per cent). The lowest levels of job anxiety were found in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (19 per cent) and Atlantic Canada (18 per cent).
Other national highlights include:
"While the jobless rate in Canada remained steady at 8.5 per cent in December, 2,600 jobs were lost that month," said Craig Wright, senior vice-president and chief economist, RBC. "Canadians were likely reacting to those numbers and expressing some insecurity. Nonetheless, over the course of 2010, we expect to see a sustained improvement in the labour market."
About The RBC Canadian Consumer
The RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index, benchmarked as of November 2009, is based on the results of an online survey of 1,014 Canadians, ages 18 and over, conducted by Ipsos Reid between January 8 and 14, 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 been polled.
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