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Are You Worried about the Canadian Economy in 2012?

8 January, 2012 / by Bryan Jaskolka

For years we Canadians have been priding ourselves on the fact that the global financial crisis of 2008 didn’t hit us nearly as bad as the rest of the world – especially those people to the South of us that always seem to come out just a smidge better than us. But it seems that confidence is now waning and Canadians are more worried about our economy than ever before – even in 2009 when we were in the midst of what many were calling a recession. So let’s forget about second mortgages and home equity for a minute and take a look at the rest of the economy.

A recent survey taken by the Economic Club of Canada shows that most of us are more worried about the economy for the coming year than we ever have been before. From the poll, only 25% of us are optimistic about how our economy will fare in the coming year. At the same time last year, 36% of us were optimistic and in 2009, 54% of us were optimistic about the coming year. And let’s remember that at that time, we were in the heart of the recession. What’s maybe even more worrisome is that the survey also showed that 70% of us believe we’re in a mild recession; even though during the actual recession, many of us believed we weren’t even in one.

So why all the doubt about our economy? Consumer confidence and the unemployment rate are the ones to blame. The lack of consumer confidence seems to stem from the fact that while our economy may be recovering, it’s not happening as fast as consumers would like. That was most apparent over the recent holiday season, when retailers didn’t see the sales they had been hoping for, and many had to “double the effort to get the same amount of money we got last year,” according to one Toronto jewelry store. That store said that sales were much stronger last year than the year before. And that one store isn’t the only one feeling the effects – most were throughout Ontario.

The other biggest reason for the ill-feeling towards our economy is our unemployment rate. That rate currently sits at 7.4% – that’s 1.5 million Canadians that are currently out of work and worse, that can’t find work. This is the number we’re working with now anyway, until Statistics Canada releases their new numbers on Friday. And hopefully, those will be lower than what they are now, maybe increasing some Canadians’ confidence in our economy.

The poll done by the Economic Club of Canada surveyed 2,878 Canadians. That’s not really too many, considering that there’s just over 34 million of us living in the country, according to the 2011 census. So, where do you stand? Are you one of the minority that thinks our economy is in trouble for the coming year? Or do you think that this is just a sign of Canadians’ love of worrying, and that we’ll be much be much better off in 2012 than what this poll suggests?