Consumer confidence overflowing

Written by Jim McElgunn

Canadians are the most upbeat about the economy they’ve been in the more than three years that TNS Canadian Facts has tracked consumer confidence.

Richard Jenkins, vice-president of the Toronto-based market-research firm, calls the current level of confidence “overflowing.” The Present Situation Index, which tracks how well Canadians think the economy and employment are doing, reached 122.8 in November. That was up from 119.8 in October, and marked the highest level in the survey’s history. (All figures compare the current level of confidence against an index set at 100.0 for July 2004, when TNS launched the survey.)

The phone survey from Nov. 5 to 8 of 1,015 Canadian adults also showed a rise in the Expectations Index to 103.6, up from 103.1 in October and 99.5 in September. This measures how well consumers expect the economy, household income and employment to be faring six months from now.

Jenkins attributes the high confidence levels to the record-high employment rate and strengthening consumer purchasing power due to the soaring loonie. That promises to make this a merry Christmas indeed for the country’s retailers: Canadians plan to spend on average $986 on holidays gifts, decorations or other holiday items this year, a massive 12% increase over the $877 they spent in 2006.

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