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Albertans still pessimistic about the economy, worried about spending: Leger poll

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As they begin a new year, a new survey shows Albertans have a lot of the same old concerns.

Leger's bi-annual Economic Confidence Report was released Thursday: a deep dive into Canadians’ perspectives on the economy and their household finances.

It suggests that Albertans have similar concerns to the rest of the country, but that that glass-half-empty perspective is a little more pronounced in the province.

The Leger survey shows nationwide, Albertans have the least confidence in the Canadian economy. That's a figure that has remained consistent.

Sixty-eight per cent of respondents say their confidence is "poor" or "very poor" -- that's tops in Canada and five points higher than respondents country-wide.

"As a household and as an individual, we're still feeling the financial pain," Leger's Western Canada executive vice-president Steve Mossop said.

"We have half of Albertans who have trouble paying their rent or mortgage and paying their credit card bills. We have people worried about their savings, we have people worried about potentially losing their jobs."

Concerns about inflation and housing affordability remain as high as ever, despite less worry about rising interest rates.

There's also compounding concerns about rising homelessness rates, and the negative effects of crime and government debt.

"We're a little bit more pessimistic on the economics, but we're also seeing the rise of social issues in Alberta more so than the rest of the country," Mossop said.

A man prepares to move his belongings as police and cleanup crews prepare to tear down homeless encampments in Edmonton on Friday December 29, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

WINTER SPENDING WOES

The holiday season is continuing to have a massive economic impact on consumers.

Thirty-seven per cent of Albertans say they went over their winter holiday spending budget, and 31 per cent say that's resulted in credit card debt.

That likely means it may be a little while longer before there is a noticeable resurgence in spending.

"Canadians are not very good at budgeting for Christmas," Mossop told CTV News.

"Despite months and months of us polling saying we are going to cut back, it is often the case that we go a little bit beyond."

The results of the Economic Confidence Report are based on online research involving 2,043 Canadian adults belonging to the Leger Opinion panel.

The survey was conducted between Jan. 5 and 7 and the sample size typically carries with it a margin of error of 2.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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