Manitoba, Saskatchewan residents confident about economic prospects

The recent RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook report found that job anxiety in Saskatchewan and Manitoba remains the lowest in the country at seven per cent, down significantly from 12 per cent in November, which was also the national low. 

“After a challenging year in 2009, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are poised for growth,” said Craig Wright, senior vice-president and chief economist, RBC. “We expect Saskatchewan's economy to grow by a strong 3.9 per cent in 2010 and our forecast for Manitoba's real GDP growth is three per cent in 2010.”

With the exception of British Columbia, where anxiety is unchanged, job anxiety is down across the country. Nationally, one-in-five Canadians said that a member of their household is worried about losing their job or being laid off.

Residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba also differ when it comes to financing their holiday shopping, with the highest level in the country at 81 per cent  saying they will pay for the holidays with money on-hand, compared to the national average of 75 per cent. 

Three-in-five Prairie residents said they are not planning to shop for post-holiday deals in January, compared to 58 per cent nationally.

“Prairie residents are showing some restraint with holiday shopping this year even though they are feeling secure about their employment situation,” said Rob Johnston, regional president, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and North Western Ontario, RBC. 

“At RBC, we continue to advise our clients to balance spending with a strong financial plan that includes goals like reducing debt and saving for the longer term priorities like a home, education or retirement.”

The report also measured Canadians' perception of current conditions compared to three months ago, as well as short-term (three months) prospects for their personal finances and a number of other factors. Regional highlights include:

• National economy: Respondents from Saskatchewan and Manitoba are most likely to have said that the current overall state of the Canadian economy is good (77 per cent), while 23 per cent describe it as bad.

Nationally, Canadians are divided regarding the current overall state of the economy, which 51 per cent said is good and 49 per cent said is bad. When considering the condition of the Canadian economy in the next three months,  Prairie residents are the most optimistic in the country, with half expecting

conditions to improve, versus the national average of 40 per cent, while only 17 per cent expect that conditions will worsen, compared to 20 per cent nationally. 

Over the next year, residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba are slightly more optimistic that the Canadian economy will improve at 64 per cent, versus 60 per cent nationally.

• Personal financial situation (overall): The percentage of residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba who said that their personal financial situation has deteriorated in the last three months fell significantly in December to 31 per cent from 43 per cent, and below the national average of 38 per cent. 

In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, one-in-four residents believe their personal financial situation will improve in the next three months, edging closer to the national average of 30 per cent. 

However, over the next year, only 31 per cent of Prairie residents expect improvement in their personal financial situation, the lowest in the country and well below the national average of 43 per cent.