Canadians’ mood about personal finances and economy improving, poll finds

Canadians’ mood about personal finances and economy improving, poll finds

Fewer people think they are worse off financially than last month

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Canadians appeared to reach for some optimism regarding the economy and their personal situations based on the most recent results of a survey that tracks how they feel about their financial prospects.

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Twelve of the 16 measures used to create the Maru Household Outlook Index (MHOI) improved in the latest version, released on May 9, said Maru Public Opinion, the creator of the index.

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That had Maru wondering if usually glum survey participants had finally found a “spring in their step” about the economy.

The changes cropped up in the macro and the micro and represented cautious baby steps as Canadians perhaps hope that the worst of inflation — at 4.3 per cent after accelerating to 8.1 per cent in June 2022 — and rising interest rates are over.

Among the improvements cited by Maru as evidence of possibly brighter days, 41 per cent of Canadians said they believed the national economy would strengthen over the next 60 days, a six percentage point increase from 35 per cent in March. Maru authors said in a press release that it was the best result since July 2022. Nonetheless, 59 per cent of respondents did not share the sentiment.

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More people also agreed that the economy is moving in the right direction — 39 per cent in April compared with 34 per cent. Still, a majority (61 per cent) said the state of the economy is headed in the wrong direction.

People’s pocketbooks also appeared to be a little less stretched.

Fewer Canadians (48 per cent) said they would worry about their personal finances over the coming 60 days compared with just over half (51 per cent) in March. Also, the number of people who said they would struggle to make ends meet also fell in April to 34 per cent from 37 per cent in March. Further, more respondents, 59 per cent, indicated that over the next two months they expected to have enough personal savings, up from 55 per cent in March.

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“It may be a small mercy as fewer Canadians think their financial position is worse off than it was last month,” the Maru authors said.

Also, the number of people who said they would invest in financial markets rose to 32 per cent in April from 27 per cent in March.

Still, Maru said the nation is in a “funk.”

The MHOI rose to 85 in April from 83 in March, which was its lowest reading since the index was started by Maru Public Opinion in 2021. April’s reading was nonetheless well off its July 2021 high when it registered 107.

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The base number for the index is 100. A result above 100 indicates optimism and below, pessimism. Maru compiles its household index each month by asking a panel of about 1,500 people a series of questions about the economy’s prospects over the next 60 days.

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  1. A pedestrian walks past a store's signage stating

    Canadians’ financial outlook hits all-time low, poll finds

  2. Fewer Canadians seem said they have enough savings to cover off two months of unexpected costs.

    Fewer Canadians have emergency savings on hand

  3. An increasing number of Canadians feel that the country's economy is on the wrong track and that is amping up their anxiety about their personal finances, a new survey from the Maru Group found.

    Canadians’ outlook on their finances, economy turns darker

If Canadians’ finances have improved at the margins, their longer-term prospects took a hit.

The share of Canadians able to save for their retirement was at 44 per cent in April. When the index began, that measure stood at 66 per cent.

“The question is whether the current upswing is a burst or just a bubble with the increasingly negative assessment since December 2022 having been arrested with a more positive trajectory ahead, or is it just a temporary burst of vigour?” Maru said.

• Email: gmvsuhanic@postmedia.com | Twitter:

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