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Canadians worried about economy


January 5, 2012
By David Friend/The Canadian Press

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January 5, 2012, Toronto – A growing number of Canadians are worried about the future of the economy, and how they'll fare in the midst of what many consider a mild recession, according to a survey released by the Economic Club of Canada.

The poll, conducted in December, found that only 25 per cent of respondents say they feel optimistic about economic prospects in the coming year.

That's down from 36 per cent a year earlier who say they were optimistic, and down even further from the 54 per cent who said they were optimistic in the 2009 survey.

The growing pessimism comes as most economists predict Canadian growth this year of less than two per cent, with minimal growth in jobs.

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Such feeble growth won't do much to create jobs for the 1.5 million Canadians currently unemployed or lower the 7.4 per cent national jobless rate.

Statistics Canada releases the December unemployment report Friday.

About 70 per cent of the poll's respondents said they believe the country is already in a mild recession, though not yet in a technical recession.

A technical recession is two successive quarters of economic shrinkage.

In the third quarter, real gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of 3.5 per cent after a second-quarter drop of 0.5. per cent. That was mostly driven by the energy industry, based in Western Canada.

"This is the most pessimism we've seen, except for briefly in 2008, since 1996," said Michael Marzolini, chairman of Pollara Strategic Insights, which conducted the survey on behalf of the Economic Club.

"Canadians not only believe we're now in a recession, but expectations for the length of the recession are actually longer than they were in any year since 2008."

A growing number of respondents were also concerned about how the weaker economy will impact their personal finances. About 47 per cent said they believe income will fall below the cost of living.

Poll results were collected online from 2,878 Canadians by Pollara research firm.