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A survey of Canadian buying intentions.
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Confidence reverses course in April PDF Print E-mail
Written by HGO Staff   

OTTAWA (24 April 2012) - Strongly negative responses to the future employment question and a partial reversal of last month's improved outlook on the major purchases question forced a 4.5 point retreat to the Conference Board of Canada's Index of Consumer Confidence in April, the privately-held think tank has reported.

The index now stands at 75.0, down from 79.5 in March. The index was set at 100 in 2002.

This month's survey of approximately 2,000 nationally representative Canadian adults was conducted by telephone between April 4 and 12. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.2%.

In his report, board economist Todd Crawford noted Canadian attitudes toward their financial situation were largely unchanged in March.  Only 16.2% of respondents said their family finances had improved over the past six months - a drop of 0.9% month-over-month. This was partially offset by a 0.4% reduction in the share who said they were financially worse off over the same time.

"Although improved from where it was during the depths of the 2008-09 recession; the balance of opinion remains extremely weak and continues to present a significant challenge for the Canadian economy going forward," Crawford said.

In the related question, those saying their family finances will improve over the coming six months fell 0.6% to 23.4% in March - lower than it was this time last year. The proportion of respondents saying they expect their finances to get worse climbed 1.4 points to 18.7%. "That leaves the overall balance of opinion on this question at its second-lowest level since spring 2009," Crawford said.

Canadians are also becoming more concerned with the job market. The number expecting to see more jobs in their community was up one point to 20% - a gain that was more than offset by a 5.3% gain in the share of those expecting fewer jobs.

"After three consecutive monthly improvements, the balance of opinion reversed course sharply this month, and negative attitudes are now at their highest level in more than two years," Crawford said.

Those saying now is a good time to make a major purchase - such as a home, car, major appliance or furniture - fell 3.4 points to 40.8% while the number holding the opposite view climbed 3.6 points to 48.3%.

After being the sole region to register a decline last month, Quebec turned around and recorded this month's only increase - although confidence in French Canada remains shaky at best.

All other regions posted declines - the greatest being in Atlantic Canada.

For more information, the Conference Board of Canada maintains a web site at www.conferenceboard.ca.

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