While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a sharp increase in the unemployment rate in 2020, more Canadians said they are financially stable compared to the previous year.
Roughly 23 percent of Canadians said they don’t have any barriers to financial stability, which is a 5 percent increase compared to the same period of time in 2019, according to a Global News Ipsos poll.
The survey revealed that most Canadians have found new ways to save money in the past year. Roughly half of the participants said they cut back on expenses by either buying less “non-essential” products or by spending less on food and clothing.
Spending on entertainment and travel saw the most significant drop.
“All of the fun stuff is where we’re seeing that there’s been a decline. So things that you would regard as discretionary spending,” Ipsos CEO Darrell Bricker said in the report. “Part of that is probably because people are a bit concerned about their ability to get themselves through this pandemic, but an awful lot is driven by a lack of supply.”
While more Canadians are financially secure, the survey still showed 77 percent of respondents had concerns over financially stability, citing food costs, mortgage or rent, low wages, and unemployment.
According to Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey, the unemployment rate in Canada reached the record high of 13.7 percent in May, but has continued to fall steadily. The long-term unemployment rate in November was 8.5 percent, a 0.4 percent decrease from the previous month.
The Ipsos poll found the number of people losing jobs and the number of people finding work have reached a delicate balance.
“What we’re seeing is that there’s a fair amount of churn, particularly among the younger population, where 17 percent say that they’ve lost their job during the course of the pandemic, but 17 per cent have also said that they’ve found a job,” Bricker said. “I’m not saying they’re matched up exactly, but what you’re seeing is that there’s a surprising amount of churn that’s happening in the workplace where people still are hiring, even if people are losing their jobs.”
Young Canadians are also reported to have a higher chance in finding new jobs, according to Ipsos. Roughly 17 percent of respondents aged 18 to 34 said they have found a new job, compared to 8 percent of those aged 35 to 54 and 2 percent of those aged 55 and above.
Bickers said fewer Canadians are getting job training in 2020, with only 5 percent of the population are re-trained for a new job.
“People aren’t participating in job training in the way that they were. A lot of what’s going on, I would say, in the employment market is churn along with stability,” he said.
“Improving your situation, in terms of your career, is not how people are really looking at the pandemic right now. They’re basically looking at getting by.”
This poll was conducted between Dec. 11 and Dec. 14, 2020 on Ipsos’ online panel. A sample of 1,000 Canadians over 18 years old participated in the survey. According to the Ipsos credibility interval, this poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled.