Originally Posted by Only The Lonely..
So did they talk to every Pinko in the city?
Winnipeggers' sunny side up
They're upbeat about city's future and their own finances, poll finds
Wed Jan 2 2008
By Larry Kusch
Winnipeg Free Press Photo
The city's superheated housing market could explain a lot of the optimism.
NEARLY 80 per cent of Winnipeggers are optimistic about the economic future of their city, and 85 per cent of Manitobans feel they're doing as well or better financially than they were a year ago, according to a Free Press/Jory Capital year-end poll.
Despite the prospect of a 2008 recession in the United States, which might have spillover effects for Canada, Manitobans believe they will be better off -- rather than worse off -- this time next year, the survey by Probe Research Inc. shows.
Patrick Cooney, chairman and CEO of Jory Capital Inc., said rising real estate prices are likely a big factor behind Winnipeggers' optimism.
"That's got to be 90 per cent of it," he said in an interview Monday.
Seventy-nine per cent of Winnipeggers surveyed late last year expressed optimism about the future of the city's economy, including 34 per cent who said they were "very optimistic."
That's up seven percentage points from March, when 72 per cent of city residents said they were optimistic about the city's economic future.
Jory and Probe have tracked these numbers quarterly for more than a decade, and they've seldom been higher. In December 2004, 82 per cent of city residents said they were optimistic about the city's future.
Scott MacKay, Probe's president, said that along with the buoyant housing market, last year's run-up of the Canadian dollar may also have been a factor in Winnipeggers' high confidence levels.
He noted that optimism among city residents rose steadily throughout the year as the loonie climbed to unprecedented heights against the U.S. greenback.
Thirty-five per cent of Manitobans surveyed late last year said they were better off than they were a year earlier, while 50 per cent said their financial position hadn't changed and 14 per cent said they were worse off.
"That's very consistent with the story on the optimism about the city's future," MacKay said, adding that rising home values are likely driving this result as well.
Dave Angus, president of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, said he's not surprised by the level of optimism Winnipeggers are feeling these days, which he ties to strong employment and a stable economy.
"We're seeing some substantial growth in different segments of our economy, so I think the overall perception locally is that we're on a very positive track."
Retail sales growth is also a benchmark of consumer confidence, Angus said, and "we've seen stellar retail growth over the last number of years, actually."
Manitobans, and particularly Winnipeggers, see the good economic times continuing over the next 12 months.
Thirty-seven per cent of Manitobans -- including 41 per cent of Winnipeggers -- said they thought they would be better off a year from now, while nine per cent felt they would be worse off and 50 per cent thought their household financial situation would remain the same as now.
Optimism about household finances over the next year was particularly high for Manitobans aged 18-34 (53 per cent), those with children in the home (47 per cent) and households earning $60,000 or more (44 per cent).
"Interestingly, core-area residents (55 per cent) were more likely than residents of other areas of Winnipeg to expect their households' finances to improve over the next 12 months," Jory and Probe said in a commentary accompanying the poll results.