Business and consumer confidence survey to be revealed in July

Business

Business and consumer confidence survey to be revealed in July

First and second quarter of 2020 will be presented together

Friday, May 08, 2020

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Due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Jamaica, the first quarter of the 2020 business and consumer survey will be presented alongside the second quarter in early July, according to Andre Gooden, chairman of the Jamaica Conference Board (JCB).

“The interviewers would be risking their health to go out in the field to conduct face-to-face interviews. Also, the people who were normally interviewed are small business owners and consumers, who were focusing on other priorities — participating in a survey was not a part of that at the time. They're worried about their businesses and personal health, so we thought it best to curtail the activity,” he told the Jamaica Observer in a phone interview.

Interviews were instead mostly done via phone calls and online questionnaires as face to face interviews were downsized.

Conducted by Market Research Services for JCB — the research arm of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce — the aim of the quarterly survey is to provide businesses with the knowledge and information needed to make better business decisions. The index is derived from quarterly surveys of CEOs and senior officers of Jamaican firms and households islandwide on business and consumer opinions related to current conditions and future expectations of the economy.

Gooden added that the quarters' results are still being tabulated.

BUSINESS CONFIDENCE DECLINES IN 2019

In the fourth quarter of 2019, all seven variables used to measure business confidence decreased.

According to pollster Don Anderson, the devaluation and fluctuation of the Jamaican dollar, alongside the untamed crime monster, remained the factors that have influenced business confidence and its downward trend.

The business confidence index fell to 131 points in the quarter under review from the 141 points recorded in the previous quarter. This 10-point fall-off in business confidence dragged the overall indices down, Anderson pointed out.

Businesses' assessment of the current economic conditions was down by 21 points, expectations to the current economic conditions were down by six points, expected change in the economy was down by seven points, expected change in the firm's finances was down by nine points, current return on investments was down by 23 points, expected change in profitability was down by seven points, and current investment and expansion interests was down by seven points.

However, the consumer confidence index remained stable at approximately 180 points. According to the survey, consumers' perception of current business conditions, jobs, as well as their expectations for income, were driving this stability.

However, according to Nigel Clarke, minister of Finance and the Public Service, layoffs and job losses have occurred in a number of sectors and subsectors due to COVID-19. These include tourism and attractions, the airline industry, entertainment, manufacturing, retail, security, entertainment, early childhood, and private education services.

— Abbion Robinson


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