A recent survey conducted by Pollara Strategic about public opinion on Canada’s recession paints a gloomy picture.
According to the online survey, a majority of Canadians, 52 percent to be exact, express pessimism about the economic outlook in 2024. Only 15 percent believe in improvement, while 24 percent anticipate no change.
Notably, Quebec stands out with the highest pessimism, contrasting with Ontario, where optimism appears more resilient.
Furthermore, in this public opinion on Canada’s recession, a striking 82 percent of respondents nationwide firmly believe that Canada is currently in a recession.
This notable figure marks the third-highest total since polling on this matter commenced in 2001, according to insights from Pollara.
There is an absence of two consecutive negative quarters of GDP growth, a traditional marker for a technical recession in media narratives. Despite the absence, some economists argue that, from a per capita perspective, Canada is already ensnared in a recession.
This contributes to the substantial impact of immigration on the country’s economic dynamics, economists believe.
Economic Anxieties Evolving
As part of the ongoing public opinion on Canada’s recession, a substantial 46 percent of respondents express a worrisome anticipation of falling behind financially in 2024.
Meanwhile, 38 percent expect to maintain their current financial standing, and a modest eight percent hold optimistic views of surpassing their financial status.
In this landscape, grocery prices emerge as the paramount financial concern, with 44 percent highlighting food costs as a major source of stress. Following closely are concerns about housing expenses, gas prices, and heating bills in the financial worries of Canadians.
Concerns about gas prices have diminished since the preceding year, aligning with a considerable drop in prices since their peak in June 2022, which had surpassed $2 per litre in most cities.
Conversely, the cost of groceries retains its position as a predominant worry across all regions and age groups.
Notably, residents in Atlantic Canada stand out, with 37 percent expressing heightened concern about home heating bills, distinguishing this region from others in terms of financial stressors.
Indeed, within the spectrum of public opinion on Canada’s recession, the stress factors are undergoing a noticeable shift.
According to the public opinion on Canada’s recession, it’s worth noting that in Atlantic Canada, an unusual reliance on home heating oil is observed, with nearly a third of households depending on this method.
This stands in contrast to other regions of Canada where such reliance is less common. It’s also highlighted that home heating oil tends to be more expensive compared to alternative heating systems, adding an additional layer to the economic dynamics in this particular region.
Another divergence emerges among age groups. Younger Canadians, aged 18 to 34, are notably more likely to identify housing expenses as a significant stressor, with 45 percent expressing this concern.
In contrast, only 19 percent of respondents aged 65 and over share the same sentiment. This variance in stress perception underscores a generational distinction in economic apprehensions.
These concerns result in current public opinion on Canada’s recession, there’s a notable shift in stress factors.
Canadians on Housing and Job Security
While examining the sentiments within public opinion on Canada’s recession, a distinct contrast in emotional descriptors emerges based on housing situations. Homeowners with mortgages paid off commonly expressed feeling “confident” and “calm.”
In contrast, both renters and homeowners currently paying mortgages predominantly used words like “worried” and “upset” to describe their sentiments about their personal financial situation.
Also, there’s a noteworthy shift in concerns related to job security in the public opinion on Canada’s recession.
Nineteen percent of respondents express apprehension about potential job loss for themselves or a family member in the coming year, indicating a decline from 2021 when 35 percent shared similar worries.
Particularly, individuals engaged in blue-collar jobs exhibit a higher prevalence of fear regarding job loss, with 34 percent responding affirmatively to this concern.