Local Business Confidence At Highest Level Since 2007, Survey Finds

Business Confidence rose to the second highest level on record during the first quarter of the year.

There was also an improvement in Consumer Confidence during the January to March period.

The disclosure was made today by Managing Director of Market Research Services, Don Anderson.

Mr. Anderson was presenting the findings of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce Conference Board first quarter business and consumer confidence survey.

Optimism among Jamaican firms rose to its second highest level in the January to March period of 2015, due largely to businesses perceiving more favourable prospects for investments.

According pollster, Don Anderson, 59 percent of firms said it was a good time to invest in their productive capacity.

As a result there was also significant improvement in the outlook for the financial health of firms – with 74 percent of companies expecting better finances and 68 percent anticipating higher profits.

The Business Confidence index for the first quarter was 7 percent higher than the level recorded in the last quarter of 2014.

And, it was almost 2 percent below the all-time high in business confidence recorded in the third quarter of 2007 – at the height of the last global economic boom.

The only component of the business index that fell during the first quarter of this year was the perception about how fast the economy was expected to improve.

The survey also found that firms expressed confidence that the economic policies of the government will help to improve businesses.

But expectation of the pace of economic growth moderated somewhat during the quarter — with 39 percent of businesses expecting the economy to improve in the year ahead.

This is down from the 44 percent recorded in the previous quarter.

The Survey also found that although consumers were still dissatisfied with the economy, their assessment of it has improved pushing the index up by 4 percent — to its highest level in 2 years.

Confidence among consumers during the January to March period was also 32 percent higher than the record low recorded six quarters ago at the end of 2012.

Only 7 percent of Consumers believed the economy was in good shape, while 35 percent said the economy had worsened.

There was also a modest improvement in job prospects during the first quarter.

The survey found that 88 percent of respondents said jobs continue to be scarce, down from 91 percent in the previous quarter.

And only 21 percent say they expect an improvement in job availability in the year ahead.

Home and vehicle buying intentions remained largely unchanged.