Canadians less optimistic about economy

But job anxiety has eased: RBC

Canadians are less optimistic about the outlook for the national economy and their personal financial situation than they were last year, according to the latest RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index. Less than one-half (43 per cent) feel the economy will improve over the next year, down from 56 per cent reported last January. In addition, only 38 per cent of Canadians feel their personal financial situation will improve over the next 12 months, compared to 45 per cent one year ago.

Despite the cautious economic outlook, there are indications Canada's economy will continue to grow in 2011 and 2012, said RBC.

"While the pace of the recovery will remain moderate, we are projecting growth of 3.2 per cent this year and 3.1 per cent in 2012, representing the fastest pace of growth over the past four years," said Craig Wright, senior vice-president and chief economist at RBC. "As the economy continues to expand, we expect interest rates to drift moderately higher through the coming year. This should limit pressure on household balance sheets in an environment of continued employment gains."

And job anxiety has eased, found the survey of 3,533 Canadians. This year, 20 per cent of Canadians surveyed stated they or someone in their household is worried about losing their job or being laid off, a drop from 26 per cent in January 2010. Job anxiety was highest in Ontario (23 per cent) and lowest in the Prairies (15 per cent).

While only 43 per cent of Canadians feel the economy will improve over the next year, Albertans are much more optimistic (61 per cent) and Quebecers less optimistic (32 per cent) than the national average. As for the current state of the economy, 60 per cent of Canadians describe it as "good", with the Prairies (77 per cent) and Alberta (75 per cent) feeling the most positive.

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