Ottawa – The Conference Board of Canada’s Index of Consumer Confidence rose 12.9 points to 108.5 in March 2015, as survey respondents were more positive about their current and future financial situation, their willingness to make a major purchase, and the future job prospects in their region.
Consumer confidence improved in most regions. The exceptions were Atlantic Canada and Saskatchewan-Manitoba. Atlantic Canada’s index fell 16.2 points, as responses there were more pessimistic for all four factors (current finances, future finances, whether it is a good time to make a major purchase, and the outlook for the labour market).
In Saskatchewan-Manitoba, the index fell 5.9 points. It was the third consecutive decline for the region’s index. The deterioration in confidence there was due mainly to increased pessimism about current and future finances and whether it is a good time to make a major purchase.
Most of the improvement in the overall index came thanks to consumers in Canada’s most populous province. Ontario’s index jumped 27 points in March. This gain, which more than offset the decline recorded in February, was the result of improved sentiment on all four questions.
Alberta also saw its index rise in March. After oil prices crashed late last year, consumer confidence in the province fell as well. However, Alberta’s index increased 16.7 points in March, offsetting the decline recorded in February. Albertans were more positive about their current and future finances and the future job prospects in their community.
British Columbia’s index also increased in March, rising 5.3 points for its first gain in three months. The improvement was the result of fewer respondents saying they were financially worse off than six months ago and a drop in the number who said they expected fewer jobs in their communities. Similarly, Quebec’s index rose 3.3 points — its third consecutive increase — due mainly to a drop in the number of respondents who said they expect fewer jobs going forward.