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Confidence ekes out narrow gain in September but major purchases still negative PDF Print E-mail
Written by HGO Staff   

OTTAWA (03 October 2011) - The Index of Consumer Confidence gained a miniscule 0.3 points to 75 in September, narrowly avoiding it fifth consecutive monthly decline. However, the major purchases and labour market questions continue to trend negative despite a slightly more optimistic outlook for future finances.

The Conference Board of Canada set the index to 100 in 2002.

Regionally, Atlantic Canada was the sole region to register a decline, while British Columbia posted this month's largest increase. Index values elsewhere were largely unchanged.

The board noted this month's telephone survey of some 2,000 nationally representative Canadian adults was conducted between September 8 and 19. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.2%.

Only 16% of respondents indicated their finances had improved over the past six months - a decline of 0.4 percentage points from August. Meanwhile, those saying their finances were worse rose 0.5 points to 21.2%.  The board also noted "the last time positive responses outnumbered negative ones on this question was September 2008 - three years ago this month."

Also troubling is the outlook for future jobs - which continues to deteriorate. Only 14.8% of respondents expect more jobs in their communities six months from now. That's down 1.4 percentage points from August and the fifth consecutive decline.

The outlook for future job creation continues to deteriorate. Just 14.8 per cent of survey respondents indicated that they expect there to be more jobs in six months' time. "Moreover, it is the smallest share of positive responses on this question since April 2009, when Canada was in mid-recession," the board said. Furthermore, the number saying they expect fewer jobs rose 1.4 points to 25.5, pushing the balance of opinion deeper into negative territory.

After falling for two straight months, those says now is a good time to make a major purchase - such as a house, a car or other big ticket item such as furniture and appliances - increased 1.3 points to 39.9%. "That remains well below the level we saw to begin the year," the board said, adding 48.3% of respondents believe now is not the time to make such a purchase.

"Relative confidence levels remain low, with the index values below where they started the year in every region," the Conference Board reported.

For more information, visit the board's web site at www.conferenceboard.ca.

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