Canadians positive on economy, anxious on jobs: RBC

Mon Mar 1, 2010 5:02am EST
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadians became slightly more positive in February about the outlook for the economy but remained anxious about personal finances and job prospects in the short term, a consumer confidence survey showed on Monday.

The RBC Monthly Canadian Consumer Outlook Index rose three points to 109 from 106 in January.

Sentiment about the Canadian economy shifted into positive territory with 53 percent of respondents describing it as good and 47 percent describing it as bad, reversing the negative bent of the previous month.

Looking ahead, 62 percent of Canadians expected the economy to improve over the next year, compared with 56 percent in January.

Still, Canadians remained anxious about their jobs with 1 in 4 respondents saying a member of their household is worried about losing their job or being laid off.

Only 30 percent were optimistic that personal finances would improve in the following three months, compared with 32 percent in January. Just over 4 in 10 said their situations would improve over the next year.

On interest rates, 65 percent of Canadians expected interest rates to go up in the next six months, roughly in line with market expectations. The Bank of Canada has pledged to keep interest rates at record lows until the end of the second quarter.

The RBC index is based on an online survey of 1,064 Canadians aged 18 and over. It was conducted between February 9 and 12.

(Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway)