New research shows consumer confidence continued to rise during June as people were buoyed by reports that the worst of the recession could be over.
The Nationwide Consumer Confidence Index reached 58 during the month, the highest level since last October and broadly in line with the level last June.
The improvement was driven by a rise in people’s confidence about the future state of the economy, with the group’s expectations index reaching its highest level since the end of 2007.
Nationwide said it was the first time since the index began in 2004 that more people said they thought the economy would be better in six months’ time than those who thought it would be worse.
Martin Gahbauer, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “During June, consumers’ confidence continued to gradually increase – a trend which has been seen for the last three months. Recently, there has been much talk by industry commentators suggesting that the worst of the recession may be over, which appears to have fed into consumer sentiment. However, the strongest belief by consumers is that the economy will be the same in six months’ time.”
But people remain negative about the present, 76 per cent thinking the economy is in a bad state while 68 think there are few jobs available. About 22 per cent think there will be more jobs available in six months’ time, but 54 expect unemployment to remain high.