Consumer confidence rises in spite of economic downturn

New polling numbers have suggested that overall consumer confidence in the Canadian economy increased from December to February.

At 67 per cent, it is the highest the index has been since August 2008.

Fifty-nine per cent of respondents in the Harris/Decima survey foresee bad times for the economy in the coming year, which is down from 64 per cent as reported in December.

Only one in 10 say they are optimistic the economy will get better within the next year.

“The roller-coaster ride may not be over yet, but the data suggests many feel that we have hit bottom, and will gradually move upward from here,” said Jeff Walker, senior vice president for Harris/Decima.

Although this consumer confidence index shows that people are a little hopeful about the state of the economy, Statistics Canada reported March 2 that Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) declined 0.8% within the last three months, contracting progressively each month.

The sharp decline hasn’t been seen since 1991.

Declines in exports, capital investment, and consumer spending contributed to the economic reduction. Even though final domestic demand fell 1.2 per cent, government spending rose with the introduction of the huge stimulus packages to boost the ailing economy.

More than 2,000 people were surveyed from Feb. 5-15.