Canadians start year in downward funk: survey



    Recessionary talk in U.S. driving confidence down

    TORONTO, Jan. 24 /CNW/ - Canadians are much less enthusiastic about the
state of the economy than they were several months ago, suggest the January
findings from TNS Canadian Facts' Consumer Confidence Index.
    "In the face of recessionary talk in the U.S. and across the board stock
market losses, Canadians have become naturally more cautious," said Richard
Jenkins, 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 economy and the employment situation, now stands at 114.7 (down
from 118.9 in December). After a positive trend throughout 2007, with
confidence peaking in November, the January 2008 retreat brings the Present
Situation Index back to its May 2007 range.
    The decline in consumer confidence is most apparent when one considers
expectations about the future. The Expectations Index, which measures
consumers' estimation of the economy, household income and employment in six
months, also declined for the second consecutive month. The January index
value is 98.5 compared to 100.4 in December. Not since the fall of 2005 has
the Expectations Index been this low.
    The Buy Index, which gauges the degree to which people think the current
period is a good time to make major purchases, is the only measure that has
not declined. The index now sits at 94.3 (and is up slightly from
93.5 recorded last month).
    "Although consumer confidence in Canada is still high and may have been
overstated last fall, it is too early to speculate how consumers will react to
a continued barrage of negative economic news emanating from the U.S.,
especially if Canadian bad news stories also appear," added Jenkins.

    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 January 13 and 17,
2008. For a survey sample this size, the margin of sampling error is plus or
minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
    TNS Canadian Facts (www.tns-cf.com) is one of Canada's most prestigious
full-service marketing, opinion and social research organizations.

    About TNS

    TNS is a global market insight and information group.
    We are the world's foremost provider of custom research and analysis,
combining in-depth industry sector understanding with world-class expertise in
the areas of Retail and Shopper Insights, Stakeholder Management, New Product
Development, and Brand and Communications. We are a major supplier of consumer
panel, media intelligence and internet, TV and radio audience measurement
services.

    www.tnsglobal.com





For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Richard W. Jenkins, Vice
President, Corporate Director, Public Opinion Research, Tel: (613) 230-4408 x
101, e-mail: richard.jenkins@tns-global.com; David Stark, Vice President,
Public Affairs, Tel: (416) 924-5751 x 238, e-mail: david.stark@tns-global.com

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