UK consumer confidence hit by job fears

| April 8, 2009 | 0 Comments

A consumer confidence survey by the Nationwide has revealed that individuals are fearful about losing their jobs after the building society’s confidence index fell from 43 in February to 41 in March.

According to Fionnuala Earley, Nationwide’s chief economist, “Overall consumer confidence has remained broadly stable since the start of the year, but feelings about the current labour market have weakened.“

The survey comes just a day after the Royal Bank of Scotland announced 9,000 jobs were to go, with 4,500 of them in the UK.

According to official figures, unemployment in the UK is now a little over 2 million - the highest level since 1997. Many analysts believe unemployment will reach 3 million by the end of the year.

In the meantime, the Nationwide’s “permanent placements indicator” grew to 33.5 in March, compared with 30.3 the previous month, however, this is still well under the 50 mark where growth begins.

However, on a positive note, the Nationwide’s survey of 1,000 consumers suggested that people are becoming more optimistic about economic conditions in the UK.

Ms Earley adds that the growing optimism is “encouraging“.

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