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Yle poll: Finns getting over recession

Nearly 60 percent of people surveyed for Yle consider the years-long economic recession to be over, and that the country is on the cusp of a new upswing.

Ihmisiä rullaportaissa.
Age of the consumer: Finns are starting to be more optimistic about Finland's future, a poll suggests. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

A majority of residents of Finland think the global economic recession has cleared its peak in Finland, according to a poll conducted for Yle by Taloustutkimus.

Despite this stance, not all respondents say they think the Finnish economy is in the clear just yet.

The poll posed the assertion that "The economic recession is over in Finland" and "We are at the beginning of a new economic boom".

Some 59 percent of respondents said they agreed either fully or partly with the statement, compared to 38 percent who said they fully or partly disagreed with it. A total of 1,004 adults were polled, and the margin of error is ±3 percentage points.

Not definitive

Research chief Juho Rahkonen from pollster Taloustutkimus said the poll alone proved nothing about the real economy.

"Also, this is an opinion poll. But we can still glean much from how consumers themselves think of the economic situation," he says.

The economy, Rahkonen says, is largely psychology. Private spending and other financial activities reflect people's optimism or lack of it.

The poll suggests that men tend to be more optimistic about the state of the economy than women, and Rahkonen says he might know why.

"It probably has to do with the positive news of employment going up in male-dominated industries. Industrial sectors have been doing a little better," he says.

As examples Rahkonen mentions the Uusikaupunki car plant, the Turku shipyard and the Äänekoski bioproducts mill. Positive economic news, says Rahkonen, have stuck in people's minds.

Government parties torn

The poll also looked at the spectrum of attitudes towards the recession among the three coalition government parties.

37 percent of Finns Party respondents say they believe the recession is done with, a far less optimistic stance when compared with the Centre Party's 72 percent and the National Coalition Party's similar 71 percent support for the end of the Finnish slump.

“The Finns Party can still be considered a protest party when you look at these figures,” Rahkonen says.

Managers and white-collar workers are the occupations most likely to believe in the end of the downturn. The better a respondent is doing financially, the figures show, the more optimistic they are likely to be when polled.

Deep-seated issues of unemployment among young adults are seen in the study as well, as younger respondents were the most likely to be pessimistic about the state of Finland’s economy. Just over half of under 25-year-olds say the country is set for an uptick, but the opposing camp in that demographic is almost as large.

The survey also measured the purchasing power and financial position of the respondents. The survey’s qualitative approach – letting people estimate for themselves what they can afford – was used by Taloustutkimus for the second time.

In a nearly identical study from spring 2015 figures were extremely similar, accurate to the nearest percent, showing that Finns have not changed their minds about their own monetary assets in the last two years.

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