Nearly two in five Canadians say they aren’t getting enough work amid COVID-19 pandemic – The Logic
After nearly three months of COVID-19 lockdown, Canadians are more likely than people in the U.S., China and the U.K. to feel they don’t have enough paid work—and are less likely to practice social distancing than they once were, according to new research.
Thirty-seven per cent of Canadians say they aren’t working enough because of the pandemic and subsequent shutdown—higher than in the U.S., the U.K. and China. And with more than one in three having lost some or all of their income during the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians are just as likely to be anxious about their economic future as their American counterparts, according to new data from Toronto-based research firm Riwi.
The Toronto-based research firm Riwi surveyed people globally between May 18 and June 2 on the economic impact of COVID-19. By polling anonymously on dormant or vacant URLs, Riwi reaches a broad segment of internet users including groups who are often underrepresented in traditional polling methods, like young people and immigrants. Doing so anonymously helps reduce the “social desirability bias,” or the phenomenon in which respondents answer based on social pressure and not conviction, said Danielle Goldfarb, the company’s head of global research.
Thirty-seven per cent of Canadians say they aren’t working enough because of the pandemic and subsequent shutdown. In the U.S., the number was 33 per cent, with the U.K. and China at 32 and 28 per cent, respectfully.
“Our data show that over one in three Canadians has lost half or more of their income, and while we know that unemployment in Canada has gone down, we still have a significant share of the population that is unemployed,” said Goldfarb. “There’s still a lot of people who are really suffering who do not have the amount of paid work they want.”
Riwi’s data on economic insecurity in Canada belies the well-worn cliché that things are necessarily worse in the U.S. As The Logic reported last month, more Canadians as a percentage of the population reported losing most or all of their income due to the pandemic than Americans.
Canadians and Americans also seem to share similar levels of economic hardship. Roughly the same percentage of Canucks and Yankees (18 and 19 per cent, respectfully) say they can’t currently pay their bills without incurring debt; a similar percentage of both (30 and 29 per cent, respectfully) say they can do so for more than a year.
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The possibility of what Goldfarb called “an economic second wave” may well add to this economic anxiety. “You have businesses make it through the initial really hard period, but if consumer demand doesn’t pick up to where it was before COVID hit, how much more bandwidth will they have? There’s so many different unknowns in this crisis,” Goldfarb said.
Still, Goldfarb sees a “notable improvement” in the number of people moving from part-time to full-time work as businesses across the country have begun opening up. She also noted that 40 per cent of Canadians are satisfied with the government’s pace of allowing citizens to resume activities. In contrast, only 28 per cent of Americans feel this way.
As for social distancing, 47 per cent of the roughly 1,000 Canadians polled between May 18 and June 2 say they are avoiding public spaces, gatherings and physical contact with others—markedly lower than in mid-April, when nearly 70 per cent were keeping themselves bubbled, according to the Riwi data.