January 11, 2023 — Pollara’s annual Economic Outlook study finds the public the most pessimistic about the Canadian economy and their personal finances they have been since the 2008 financial crisis. On many questions, we see levels of negativity only reached a few times over the 28 years this study has been fielded.
As we head into 2023, over eight-in-ten (83%) Canadians feel the country is in a recession, a 17-point increase from last year, and the highest level recorded since 2009.
This pessimism can also be seen when people look at their personal finances. The percentage of Canadians who feel they are “losing ground” financially has jumped from 25% last year to 38% this year. The biggest cost of living expenses driving this are the cost of food (46% say it’s a major source of stress), housing expenses (34%), and the cost of gas (30%).
Amidst these cost of living pressures, when looking ahead to 2023, half (50%) of Canadians expect their household income will fall behind the cost of living – a high only reached once during the 28 years of Pollara’s Economic Outlook study.
The public’s one ray of hope for 2023 is Canada’s job market, which ended the year with low unemployment levels. Only two-in-ten (20%) Canadians feel it is likely they or a family member will lose their job this year, the lowest level recorded since 2008.