Canadians Fear A Recession In 2020: Survey

A majority of Canadians fear there is a recession looming on the horizon.

In a survey by Nanos Research Group, 56% of Canadians said there’s a "somewhat likely" chance of an economic recession in 2020 -- a sentiment broadly held across regions, gender and age. Only 34% of people polled said a recession is unlikely, with 10% unsure. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The negative assessment of Canada’s economic prospects fits with data that shows a sharp decline in consumer confidence, a potential danger sign for consumption. The deterioration comes as financial markets rebound and wages accelerate, suggesting other factors may be at play. These could include concerns about global trade wars and decelerating domestic economic growth within Canada.

The negative outlook is most pronounced in Western Canada. In Alberta, where people have already been suffering through recession-like conditions amid weakness in the energy sector, economic sentiment was the gloomiest. Respondents in British Columbia and Ontario are also concerned that a significant downturn is imminent. Quebec was the only province where optimists outnumbered pessimists.

A separate gauge of consumer confidence -- the "Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index" -- ended November with its lowest month-end reading since January and well below historical averages. Another survey in late October found only 22% of Canadians showed strong confidence in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ability to create conditions for economic prosperity.

The results of the current survey are based on a hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,010 Canadians conducted between November 29 and December 2, and have a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.