Consumer Confidence Reaches 17-Year High; Business Confidence Stays Stable

The Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) reports that public consumer confidence for the third quarter of 2018 has hit its highest marks ever – from 159.1 points to 172.6 – according to data from its Business and Consumer Indices.

The summary report, released on Tuesday, October 9 at its headquarters along Half-Way-Tree Road in St. Andrew, also indicated that business confidence consistently continues to plateau – remaining at the same 140 points in the third quarter of 2018.

The data, accumulated via a survey with a sample size of 600 Jamaicans and business interests island-wide, was conducted by the Don Anderson-led Market Research Services.

“Consumer confidence was even stronger in the third quarter of 2018. This represents the highest recorded since the start of these surveys in 2001. Consumers’ views of the current and future job situation were the main drivers of this heightened confidence,” the report added.

Speaking on the reverse economic outlook reflected by the business community, the report stated, “Expectations for economic growth has waned somewhat with a smaller proportion of firms, 48% compared to 62% in Q2, reporting that they expect the economy to improve in the next 12 months.”

Several key indices saw surges on the consumer side, including ‘current economic conditions’, ‘consumer expectations’, ‘current business conditions’, ‘current job prospects’, ‘expected business conditions’, ‘expected job prospects’ and ‘expected change in income’.

For businesses, the optimism was observed as stable, with investment plans still in force but falling marginally. It was further noted that 64% of firms surveyed continued to argue that the time was right for expansion, which exceeded the 58% average for the same period in 2017.

By Gavin Riley

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