Glum outlook: Few islanders expect to see signs of economic recovery any time soon. *Graph supplied
Glum outlook: Few islanders expect to see signs of economic recovery any time soon. *Graph supplied

Islanders can’t see much light at the end of the recession tunnel, a new survey reveals.

The Bermuda Omnibus Survey found that most are gloomy about the prospects of a bounce back from the slump.

More than a third (36 per cent) of those polled believe economic recovery will take at least three years, while more than a quarter (27 per cent) say it could take up to two years.

And less than ten per cent thought Bermuda would see signs of recovery in the current year.

The results were commissioned by the Bermuda Sun from the latest Bermuda Omnibus Survey.

Businessman Peter Everson, who is on the economics committee of the Chamber of Commerce — though he stressed he was speaking in a private 

capacity — said recovery could not be predicted because new international business, a key factor in kick-starting the economy, and the building of new hotels were dependent on the timescales of others.

He added: “We haven’t seen any of this yet, apart from the Fairmont Hamilton, where the Green family bought it last year and said they were looking at major improvements.

More attractive

“People are looking around right now to see if there are any signs and I don’t think they can. What the Government is trying to do is make Bermuda a more attractive place for both these kinds of people.”

Mr Everson added that those expressing pessimism over recovery “probably had an appreciation of how deep and far-reaching Bermuda’s problems are.”

Looking at the racial breakdown of respondents, 37 per cent of blacks see no recovery for at least three years and 27 per cent say it will happen in 2015. Whites seemed a little more optimistic; 32 per cent predict recovery next year, 30 per cent in 2015 but 29 do not foresee signs of recovery for at least three years.

Bermuda College senior economics lecturer Craig Simmons said: One would expect people on higher incomes to side more with the conservative party.

“The OBA isn’t as hostile to issues of term limits and work permits and appears to have a more open view on both flows of capital and flows of foreign labour.”

And he warned that “there is a very good chance they’re all wrong” when people were asked about a bounce back from recession.

Mr Simmons said: “No one knew that a recession was coming — if you turn that on it’s head, no one knows when the recovery is coming.”

He added that it was human nature to be over-optimistic in a boom – while in a slump, people tended to look for the worst.

He added that entrepreneurs who dared to invest and take advantage of depressed prices in property and stocks would be the new leaders when the economy got back on track — and the ones who would kick-start the recovery.

And Mr Simmons said: “I don’t think politics has a significant role to play in economics — we give away too much power to politicians.” 

Source: The question on the economy was commissioned by the Bermuda Sun from the latest Bermuda Omnibus Survey©, a syndicated quarterly survey of Bermuda residents. The survey consisted of telephone interviews with a representative sample of 400 Bermuda residents conducted between March 14 & 27, 2013.
The margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 per cent in 19 out of 20 samples. Now in its sixteenth year, the Bermuda Omnibus© is conducted quarterly to provide subscribers with ongoing insight and market intelligence on the Bermuda population, covering important issues on the public agenda, economic mood, consumer and lifestyle trends, Government policy, international business, and politics, among other topics.