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Drop in pessimism about the job market pushes consumer confidence higher in May

Ottawa - The Conference Board of Canada’s Index of Consumer Confidence rose 5.1 points to 80.7 (2002 = 100) in May 2013, more than enough to wipe out the decline of the previous month. Still, that leaves the index well below its base...


Ottawa – The Conference Board of Canada’s Index of Consumer Confidence rose 5.1 points to 80.7 (2002 = 100) in May 2013, more than enough to wipe out the decline of the previous month. Still, that leaves the index well below its base value of 100, indicating that confidence is still low by historical standards.

The index moved higher thanks to a less pessimistic outlook for future job creation and a more positive attitude toward making major purchases.

The gains in confidence were not equally distributed across the country. Confidence increased considerably in Central Canada, offsetting declines registered in the West. Confidence in Atlantic Canada was little changed. The most prominent increases were in Quebec, which was up 9.9 points to 77.3, and in Ontario, which rose 9.5 points to 72.7.

May’s most noticeable improvement was on the labour market question, although responses there were still puzzling. Just 16% of respondents said they expect more jobs in their communities in six months’ time, compared with 16.5% in April. As a result, positive responses are at their lowest level in eight months. But, at the same time, there were fewer respondents with a negative outlook — 22.9% said they expect fewer jobs going forward, down 4.3 percentage points. Although this is a positive development, the balance of opinion on this question is still firmly negative, and the share of respondents who view Canada’s labour market with scepticism is virtually unchanged from a year ago.

The major purchases question also received a sizable boost this month. And for the first time in two years, the balance of opinion is in positive territory.

This survey was conducted between May 2 and May12, 2013, and the margin of error is plus or minus 2.1%.