Yukoners Fairly Optimistic
While Yukoners feel that the Yukon economy is in serious to critical condition, the impact of that may not have hit home yet, or at least those people who still here may have found ways to weather the stormy economy. In June, DataPath Systems asked 300 random Yukon households to rate the condition of the economy. Across the Territory, 19% placed the economy in critical condition, while another 45% felt it was in serious condition, indicating over 2/3 of the population feel the economy is in need of improvement. On the optimistic side, 29% felt the economy was in stable condition and 7% rated it healthy. No one went as far as to say it was in peak condition.
Residents of the communities were slightly less positive compared to Whitehorse residents. In rural Yukon 24% placed the economy in critical condition, compared to only 17% for Whitehorse residents. Government employees were slightly more positive compared to those in the private sector.
The greatest difference, however, was most directly related to age. The older the respondent, the more likely they were to rate the economy in critical condition. Among those under 35, only 14% put the economy in critical condition and only 39% in serious condition. This climbs to 19% critical and 46% serious for those between 35 and 49. Those over age 50 are most concerned about the economy with critical condition rating reaching 24% and 51% put it in serious condition.
This same age factor is seen again when respondents were asked how they personally were doing compared to last year. Among the younger group, 48% felt they were somewhat or much better off, and only 10% felt they were worse off than last year. In the middle age group, 40% felt they were somewhat or much better off, and 13% were somewhat or much worse off. The oldest group is most likely to have felt a drop in their standard of living, with only 22% feeling they are somewhat or much better off (half of what was seen in the youngest group), and 29% felt they were somewhat or much worse off (three times the level seen for the youngest group).
For the Territory overall, 37% were somewhat or much better off, 46% were the same as last year, and 17% felt they were somewhat or much worse off. This is more positive than was seen in either Fall of 2000 or Winter of 2001 when this same question was asked. In Fall 2000 only 21% said they were somewhat or much better off. That stayed about the same in Winter 2001 (20%), and increased to 37% most recently. “Perhaps we are just more positive during the light of summer” commented Donna Larsen, partner in DataPath Systems.
So, what is driving concerns of Yukoners? For 1/3 of the respondents, the economy is their biggest issue. This has not changed since the survey done in the Winter. 23% felt unemployment was the largest issue facing the Yukon, and this is slightly lower than in Winter.
It seems the overall increase in optimism in the Territory has also impacted general approval of the Liberal Party. When asked to rate the Party on a scale from 1 to 10, the very positive ratings (8-10) have increased from 5-6% seen in Fall and Winter to 11% this summer. This summer, 28% rated the government very negative (1 – 3), but most (61%) are fairly neutral – giving 4 – 7 ratings.
“The rating of the government is back to the level seen in Fall, which is much more positive than the results seen during this Spring.” Added Donna Larsen
The survey was conducted by DataPath Systems; an independent Yukon-based market research company. Telephone surveys were conducted with 150 Whitehorse residents and 150 non-Whitehorse residents between June 16 - 25. The data is weighted to accurately represent Yukoners based on the community they live in, their age and gender. Percentages are statistically valid to +/- 6.7%, 19 times out of 20 (95% confidence). This was a non-commissioned study, paid for by DataPath Systems.