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Broad-based recovery in consumer confidence takes hold

Ottawa, June 26, 2020 – Consumer confidence is on the rise in Canada.

The Conference Board of Canada’s June Index of Consumer Confidence shows a broad improvement across all regions of the country as provinces and territories reopen from COVID-19 imposed lockdowns. The Index of Consumer Confidence rose 16 points to 79.7 in June.

The Conference Board’s Index of Consumer Confidence now stands at two-thirds of its pre-COVID level of 120.6 and has recovered half of its COVID-induced losses.

“These results show a marked improvement from the record low in consumer confidence observed in April and the tepid recovery we experienced in May,” said Todd Crawford, Associate Director of Economic Forecasting at the Conference Board of Canada. “What’s especially encouraging about the June results is that they are broad-based and show a positive consensus forming nationally.”  

Consumer confidence improved across all regions of Canada in June, with British Columbia recording the largest monthly increase among provinces, up 23.1 points, and Ontario posting the smallest rise at 9.3 points.

Canadians’ feelings about their future job prospects improved in June throughout Canada. The proportion of Canadians who said they expect better job prospects in the next six months increased to 18.7 per cent, its highest rating since March 2010 when Canada was emerging from the Great Recession of 2008/09.

Buoyed by a positive outlook on employment, the number of Canadians that believe now is a good time to make a major purchase rose to 20.4 per cent in June, up 5.8 percentage points from May.

However, while Canadians have a rosy outlook concerning their job prospects, they remain concerned about their current financial situation as the country emerges from the global COVID-19 pandemic. This concern has translated into cautious spending as households are holding back on major purchases in the near-term.  While the proportion of Canadians who feel pessimistic about major purchases declined to 57.5 per cent in June, the figure is still higher than its peak during the 2008 financial crisis (54.3 per cent). This shows that Canadians remain cautious about making major spending decisions.

 

Regional highlights from the June Index of Consumer Confidence include:

  • Quebec’s index edged up 22.5 points, the second largest increase in the country. Quebecers are the most confident about their financial situation, with the highest proportion of respondents feeling positive about both their current and future finances. And Quebecers had the strongest sentiments about spending on big ticket items.

     

  • In Alberta, sentiment around future labour and economic conditions strengthened with the province posting the third biggest increase in consumer confidence among regions (up 18.7 per cent). Recent oil production cuts by OPEC has significantly boosted oil prices and renewed optimism about Alberta’s oil sector. As a result, Alberta recorded its highest level of optimism about future employment in over a year (17.2 per cent), and views about making major purchases also improved.

     

  • British Columbia posted the largest increase in the Consumer Confidence Index in Canada during June. The west coast province is approaching the third phase of re-opening its economy, leading 21 per cent of respondents to feel optimistic about future labour conditions. However, residents remain worried about their personal finances. British Columbia is one of only two provinces to face deteriorating sentiments about their finances in June.

     

  • The Consumer Confidence Index for Saskatchewan and Manitoba rose 13.8 points in June, the second smallest increase among regions. Canadians in the two prairie provinces remain anxious about their finances as the proportion of respondents with optimistic views about future finances declined by 1.7 percentage points.

     

  • The Atlantic provinces experienced the slowest recovery in the Consumer Confidence Index during June. The region still needs nearly 60 points to return to pre-COVID levels. While sentiments about future employment strengthened in June, views about future finances weakened. Atlantic Canada’s provinces are the only ones where pessimism about future finances rose from May.

 

The Conference Board of Canada is the country’s leading independent research organization. Our mission is to empower and inspire leaders to build a stronger future for all Canadians through our trusted research and unparalleled connections. Follow The Conference Board of Canada on Twitter @ConfBoardofCda

 

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