OTTAWA – Consumer confidence in Canada improved in November boosted by the first increase in Alberta in six months and a big jump in Atlantic Canada.
The Conference Board of Canada said Thursday its index of consumer confidence rose to 103.1, up from 95.3 in October. The jump was the biggest gain since March.
The increase came as the index rose in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta.
However, it slipped lower in Saskatchewan–Manitoba.
Conference board senior economist Julie Ades noted there can be some volatility from month to month, but since the end of 2013 the index has not shown much improvement.
“A lot of the recent weakness in consumer confidence is attributed to people’s perception of future job prospects in their community,” Ades said.
“Although our responses to this question are still relatively negative, there has been some improvements in October and November, particularly in Atlantic Canada, Ontario and Quebec.”
Alberta, which has been hit hard by the downturn in the price of oil, saw a five point increase to 50.5, however the index was still nearly 50 points below its average for 2014.
“Despite some ups and downs, the balance of opinion on the current finances, future job prospects, and major purchase questions has remained weak since the beginning of the year,” the report said.
Atlantic Canada saw the index increase 25.2 points last month to 156.4 for November as the balance of opinion in the region improved on all four of the survey’s questions.
The index is based on how respondents perceive their current finances, future finances, and future job prospects, and whether they think it is a good time to make a major purchase.
Overall, those questioned were more positive about their financial situation as 16.9 per cent said they were better off now than six months ago rose, compared with 16.5 per cent who responded that way in October.
The share who said they were worse off dropped to 24.3 per cent from 27.1 per cent.
Meanwhile, the balance of opinion on future finances also improved.
The proportion of those who said they expect to be financially better off six months from now increased to 23.1 per cent from 21.6 per cent. Those who said they expect to be worse off slipped to 16.5 per cent from 17.2 per cent.
The feelings on future job prospects improved but remained glum. Respondents who said they expect more jobs in their communities in the coming months increased to just 10.7 per cent from 8.9 per cent, while 28.6 per cent expected the reverse, an improvement from 30.2 per cent a month earlier.
Those who said now is a good time to make a major purchase such as a car or a house increased to 30.2 per cent from 28.8 per cent, while those who felt it was a bad time slipped to 41 per cent from 43.3 per cent.
The survey was conducted between Nov. 2 and 12.