TORONTO (Reuters) - Most Canadians expect the economy will improve over the next year, but are not as optimistic about the short term, a new consumer confidence survey showed on Tuesday.
The RBC Monthly Canadian Consumer Outlook Index, launched on Tuesday, measures how people feel about the economy, their personal finances, job anxiety and interest rates.
More than three in five, or 62 percent, expect the economy to improve over the next year, while 14 percent expect it to worsen.
Nearly 40 percent think their personal financial situation is worse than it was three months ago, but 27 percent think their personal financial situation will improve in the next three months.
Longer term, 38 percent expect their personal economic situation to improve over the next year.
“Recovery is in sight for the world economy,” said Dawn Desjardins, assistant chief economist at Royal Bank of Canada.
“We’re off to a slow start but the economy will start to build steam and unemployment will reach its peak early next year and then fall off.”
Last week, the Conference Board of Canada said consumer confidence fell in November for a second consecutive month, highlighting how fragile the perception of an economic recovery is at this time.
Data on Monday showed the Canadian economy edged out of recession in the third quarter after three quarters of contraction, but the growth was just 0.4 percent on an annualized basis, below market forecasts.
Employment data for November is due on Friday, and is expected to show the economy added 15,000 jobs after shedding 43,200 in October.
Job anxiety is up in most parts of the country, the RBC survey showed, with 36 percent of respondents from the oil-rich province of Alberta concerned about losing their job or being laid off, above the national average of 27 percent. British Columbia and Ontario also reported higher than average anxiety.
In the Prairie provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, where the economic toll has been less intense as in other parts of the country, 12 percent of respondents were concerned about job losses.
The short-term pessimism is also reflected in respondents’ prospects for Christmas spending, the survey found. Forty-seven percent of respondents plan to spend less this year than last and 18 percent will not buy any gifts at all.
On average, Canadians expect to spend C$1,218 ($1,149) on holiday purchases, including gifts, decorations and entertaining.
The RBC index is based on an online survey of 1,018 Canadians, ages 18 and over, conducted between November 9 and 16.
Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Rob Wilson