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October 7, 2009    

Consumer confidence index reaches highest level since April 2008

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by Kay Murchie

It appears that many consumers believe the worst of the recession could be over after the Nationwide Consumer Confidence Index rose from a revised 65 in August to 71 in September - the highest level since April 2008.

According to the Nationwide, the index is also 24 points higher than it was this time last year, suggesting that consumers are much more optimistic about the future.

The Nationwide’s expectations index, which gauges peoples’ sentiment about the economy, jobs and personal finances in six months time, increased by 9 points to 106 in September - the highest reading in almost four years.

Commenting on the index, Mark Saddleton, Nationwide’s head of economic and market analysis, said: “The substantial rise in positive sentiment reflects widespread reports from various industry commentators recently suggesting that the worst of the recession is over.”

“Expectations for the future economic situation are also buoyant, with pessimism about the labour market situation starting to decrease,” he added.

The survey was conducted between August 24 and September 20 and questioned 1,000 consumers.

In other news today, research by KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) revealed some encouraging news for the job market after the number of unfilled permanent and temporary jobs increased in September for the second consecutive month.

However, the report highlights that the job market is still “very fragile” as despite an increase during the month, growth remained “subdued” compared to pre-recession levels.

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