More than half of CEOs believe Canada is in recession – or will be soon

Survey shows how many CEOs considering hiring or layoffs

More than half of CEOs believe Canada is in recession – or will be soon

Nearly six in 10 (58%) of Canadian CEOs believe that Canada is either already in a recession or will be in one soon this year, according to a recent report.

This belief is highest among business leaders in British Columbia (63%) compared with those in Quebec (60%), Ontario (59%) and Alberta (54%), reports TEC (The Executive Committee).

The median one-year inflation expectation lies at 3%, down from 4% in Q4 2023, according to TEC’s CEO Confidence Index for Q1 2024.

Over six in 10 (63%) of CEOs believe that business conditions have worsened in the past 12 months, and 45% expect another year of deteriorating economic conditions in 2024.

This belief is most pronounced among CEOs in Quebec (62%) compared with those in:

  • Ontario (44%)
  • Alberta (41%)
  • B.C. (37%).

However, (39%) believe that we are already in a soft landing, or will soon be in one.

“The absence of widespread layoffs is a key reason why a ‘soft landing’ is a possible outcome in 2024. This would be slow growth but not an outright contraction,” said TEC.

Canadian employers are investing less money per worker compared to 15 years ago, according to a previous report from Statistics Canada (StatCan). Overall, investment in workers dropped by 20% between 2006 and 2021. This equates to $628.80 less per employee for each company.

CEOs undertaking layoffs

Amid this economic backdrop, 47% of CEOs plan to increase payroll employment over the next 12 months, finds TEC's survey of 400 CEOs in December 2023.

Most respondents (64%) indicate that there will be no layoffs. However, 29% are now either undertaking layoffs or are considering them. More are planning to decrease employment now (14%) compared to the previous survey (10%).

Meanwhile, the percentage of CEOs saying there will be no change in employment levels is down to 38% from 44% three months earlier.

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