Canadian Manufacturing

Economic pessimism abounds in Canada … except in the West

Conference Board report says lack of confidence in jobs market underpins a general economic malaise in eastern Canada, but confidence grew in the Prairies

Government bailouts of Chrysler and GM preserved an estimated 4.1 million jobs between the two automakers over 2009-10, according to a new study. PHOTO General Motors

Report says 22.7 per cent of respondents expect fewer jobs in the next six months. PHOTO General Motors

OTTAWA—The Conference Board says Canadians are getting increasingly pessimistic about the economy and the availability of jobs, except if they are in the booming West.

The think-tank’s consumer confidence survey slid one point to 85.9 in July, the third month in a row that it has fallen.

The big reason, says the Conference Board, is that there’s still a significantly large number of people who see the jobs picture darkening going forward with 22.7 per cent saying they expect fewer jobs in the next six months, compared with 15.9 per cent who expect more.

The pessimism about jobs is highest in Atlantic Canada, where only 5.9 per cent expect there to be more jobs in the next six months.

But optimism remains high in the West. Confidence grew in the Prairies 4.5 points in July to 107.8.

And even though the confidence index fell 9.9 points in British Columbia, it remains high at 105.9, or 20 percentage points above the national average.

The survey was conducted between July 3 and July 14, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.

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