Canadians worry more about money than jobs

Thu Apr 1, 2010 5:20am EDT
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadians became more anxious about their personal finances in March -- enough to lose sleep over the issue -- but felt a little more confident about jobs, a consumer confidence survey found on Thursday.

The RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index dipped to 108 points in March from 109 in February, signaling that overall sentiment has barely budged.

The index has been edging up and down since its launch in December, reflecting opinions that the country's economic recovery will be a bumpy one.

"There are risks to the outlook that Canadians are still a bit worried about," said Craig Wright, chief economist at Royal Bank of Canada. He cited weakness in the U.S. economy, the impact of a stronger Canadian dollar, and concerns about global exit strategies from extraordinary stimulus measures used to combat the credit crunch.

Sentiment on the overall economy remained in positive territory, with 54 percent of respondents describing it as good and 46 percent describing it as bad.

However a higher number of respondents expect the economy to worsen over the next 12 months: 20 percent in the latest survey compared with 13 percent in February.

Canadians were slightly less fretful about the job outlook, with 22 percent saying a member of their household is worried about being laid off, down from 25 percent the month before.

On overall personal finances, 33 percent think their situation will improve in the next three months, up from 30 percent in February.

But the survey also found 65 percent are losing sleep over finances.   Continued...