Jamaican companies and consumers appear wary of the economy, with results from the latest survey of businesses and consumers showing a decline in confidence.

And according to pollster Don Anderson, confidence is at an all-time low when compared to last year.

“Unlike previous quarters, we are now seeing consumer confidence slightly contracting. Their spending plans have contracted and intentions to go on vacation have contracted as well. Income expectations have also softened,” he reported.

“In the previous quarter, consumers were saying ‘jobs are going to come on stream, we are going to get some of it, we are going to participate in the growth of the economy, benefits will accrue to us’. What they are now saying is that ‘we are not so sure’.”

While saying that he would await the results of the survey of the second quarter to measure whether confidence is on a downward spiral, Anderson says there was already strong evidence with all areas of the consumer indices showing declines.

Consumer outlook for the economy for the year ahead weakened, down to 30 per cent from 38 per cent of consumers expecting an improved economy. Job gains were also lower, with only 26 per cent of consumers expecting a rise in job availability, down from the 42 per cent recorded in the first quarter of 2016.

On the business side, confidence for the first quarter of 2017 stood at 139.3, slightly below the last quarter’s 142.

Anderson reported that firms were somewhat less likely to anticipate a worsening economy in the year ahead, 16 per cent down from the 22 per cent reported in the last quarter.

Article compliments Caribbean360.com