Households continue to feel the pinch of inflation—especially at restaurants and grocery stores. Optimism over current finances edged lower this month to 11.9 per cent. Meanwhile, the share of those who felt pessimistic toward their current finances rose to 35.2 per cent, an increase of 2.2 percentage points from January.
Concerns over future finances rose in February. Of those surveyed, 27.1 per cent felt that they will be financially worse off six months from now—1.6 percentage points higher than in January. Although the share of respondents who felt optimistic about future finances rose by 0.3 percentage points, settling at 16.7 per cent, the proportion of respondents with a negative outlook still outweighed the share of those who felt positive.
Even though 150,000 jobs were added to the labour force in January, 21.7 per cent of respondents believed there would be fewer jobs in six months. Meanwhile, only 14.9 per cent had a positive outlook on future job prospects.
The share of respondents who believed it was a good time to make major purchases fell by 0.4 percentage points to settle at 10.1 per cent. At the same time, 66.9 per cent felt it was not a good time to spend big—an increase of 1.7 percentage points from January. Higher borrowing costs have affected people’s willingness to spend on big-ticket items.