The FINANCIAL — TORONTO. The latest results from TNS Canadian Facts’ Consumer Confidence Index suggest that Canadians are becoming ever-so-slightly more confident in the Canadian economy.
They are not only feeling a bit better about the current economic situation but concern about the future may also be abating. Overall, the index continued to edge upward to 99.4 this month – that’s up almost two points from February’s 97.6 and almost three points from January’s 96.7.
“Overall, the confidence numbers seem to be trending upward. On the bright side, Canadians are not only feeling a bit better about the economy’s immediate prospects, but its future prospects as well. Still, they remain hesitant when it comes to pulling the trigger on those major purchases,” said Dr. Michael Antecol, vice-president of TNS Canadian Facts and director of the marketing research firm’s monthly tracking study.
The Present Situation Index, which captures evaluations of the overall state of the current economic and employment situations, rose to 88.9 in March, a jump of more than six points from January’s 82.7. Likewise, the Expectations Index, which measures consumers’ estimation of the economy, household income and employment in the next six months, regained slightly more than the 2.7 points it gave up in February, closing at a new high of 111.9. In contrast, the Buy Index, which gauges the degree to which people think the current period is a good time to make major purchases, continues to bounce around. After rising in February, it fell one point and now stands at 101.1.
“We may finally be turning the proverbial corner on consumer confidence. For months Canadians have heard that the recession was technically over, but until now there was no substantive evidence they were buying into the hype. Now, Canadians are telling us that they are seeing improvement in their current and future prospects – so confidence is trending upward. If that trend continues, it may not be too long until we see a sustained, consumer-driven economic turn-around we’ve been waiting for,” added Dr. Antecol.
Consumer Confidence Index tracks Canadians’ attitudes about the economy each month and is part of a global study conducted by TNS in 18 countries. Three indices are produced each month to show how confidence in the economy is changing: Present Situation Index; an Expectations Index; and a Buy Index. The Canadian fieldwork is conducted using the firm’s national bi-weekly telephone omnibus service, TNS Express Telephone. A total of 1,015 nationally representative Canadian adults were interviewed between March 1 and 5, 2010. For a survey sample this size, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.