A November tracking poll by Innovative Research Group (INNOVATIVE) shows that, even with reports of an accelerated spread of COVID-19 and potentially devastating new economic restrictions on businesses across the country, Canadians are more confident in their household and their employers’ financial survival than when the pandemic began in March.
Personal confidence is among the highest levels since our tracking began: 68% feel confident in their household finances, up 11 points since March.
One possible explanation is that overall employment numbers have grown and temporarily layoffs or furloughs have declined:
The share of employed Canadians increased 12 points since April, from 42% to 54%, with a corresponding drop in the portion of Canadians temporarily unemployed from COVID-19 (11% to 2%). While this is only a partial snapshot and does not show other critical impacts such as reduced hours or shifts for workers, it indicates that Canadians are largely avoiding the most profound effect on household confidence: layoffs.
Canadians are still concerned about a ‘severe recession,’ but much less concerned now than they were in the second quarter of 2020, a drop from a high of 53% to just 28% this quarter.
Most Canadians feel that, if they had to find another job, they could get one somewhere else (+24), roughly steady since the beginning of the pandemic (+27). And although agreement is roughly on par with how people felt back in the Great Recession, Canadians are more confident now than they were during much of the stagnant post-Recession recovery.
Canadians don’t seem particularly worried that their employer is at risk. Most disagree with the statement, “I’m not sure the organization I work for is going to survive the downturn.” (net: -28%), with higher agreement on this statement at the start of the pandemic (March: -14%).
Most Canadians feel the worst economic sacrifices are behind, sustained by the beliefs that there is always another job waiting in the wings and that their organization is well-equipped to survive. As Canada posts a record-breaking number of COVID-19 cases with provincial economies struggling in lockdown, and as government subsidies propping up insolvent companies disappear, Canadians’ confidence will be sorely tested.