Canadians getting less upbeat on economy

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadians are getting less optimistic about the domestic economy amid concerns about a recession in the United States, according to an opinion poll released on Wednesday.

The Nanos Research survey, conducted between February 2 and February 4, showed that only 25 percent of Canadians expect the domestic economy to strengthen in 2008, down from 49 percent in November.

“With a perceived downturn in the U.S. economy and volatile markets in Canada, Canadians are basically waiting for the bad economic news, even though it hasn’t hit them personally at this time,” Nanos Research said.

The poll was taken after a month in which North American equity markets tumbled and most Canadian economic data came in well short of expectations, due partly to reduced demand from the United States.

If the U.S. economy falls into a recession it could wreak havoc on the domestic economy since the United States consumes the bulk of Canadian exports.

But Canadian data released since the poll was conducted, including key employment figures, have painted the picture of a more resilient economy in the face of a U.S. downturn.

Nanos Research, a research and consulting firm, said it considered its poll results accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20.

Reporting by Frank Pingue; editing by Janet Guttsman