Consumer Confidence Shows Signs of Life

    Near and medium term confidence improves from December lows

    OTTAWA, Feb. 23 /CNW/ -

    -   The overall index of Consumer Confidence in the economy rose in the
        period from December to February to 67.0, the highest the index has
        been since August 2008. In the United States, the index did not see
        the same bounce as in Canada, inching only slightly upward to 61.2

    -   The most significant jump in optimism was on the question of how
        Canadians felt they'd be doing financially a year from now. Twice as
        many people feel they'll be better off than worse off (27%-13%). This
        is an improvement from December results when 20% felt they'd be
        better off, while 18% felt they'd be worse off.

    -   Canadians are also more amenable to making a major purchase. In
        December, 35% thought it was a good time to make a major purchase,
        while half (50%) thought it was a bad time. Today opinion is
        virtually even, with 41% feeling now is a good time to make a major
        purchase and 43% feeling it is a bad time to do so.

    -   Pessimism about the economic outlook for the coming year decreased
        slightly. While a majority (59%) still foresee bad times for the
        economy in the coming year, this was down from the 64% who answered
        in kind in the December survey. One-in-ten (10%) see good times ahead
        for the economy in the next 12 months.

    -   The number of Canadians who say they are worse off today than they
        were last year, remained relatively steady at 27%, down a point from
        the December survey. Once again, people are far more likely to say
        they are doing about the same financially as they were last year
        (57%). 13% feel they are better off financially compared to a year
        ago, relatively unchanged since December.

    According to Harris/Decima Senior Vice-President Jeff Walker, "Some
Canadians appear to be seeing light at the end of the economic tunnel, as both
the 1 year and 5 year outlook results have improved this quarter". "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".
    "Restored consumer confidence is an important factor in any potential
economic recovery", said Debbie Ammeter, Vice-President of Advanced Financial
Planning at Investors Group. "It is interesting to note that Canadians seem to
recognize that things could be difficult for most of this year but yet there
appears to be more who believe that they will be better off a year from now."
    Each week, Harris/Decima interviews just over 1000 Canadians through
teleVox, the company's national omnibus survey. These data were gathered
February 5th through 15th 2009 for a sample of just over 2,000 respondents.
The poll's margin of error is 2.2%, 19 times out of 20.

For further information:

For further information: Jeff Walker, Senior Vice-President,
Harris/Decima, Tel: (613) 230-2200,

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